A friend commented once about how she and I were often put on a pedestal in our communities as “superwomen.” Highly skilled women who could conquer anything thrown at us, manage every task asked of us, raise good kids, run a business, volunteer, and more.
It seems like a compliment, doesn’t it?
Until you realize it’s completely unsustainable. Unhealthy even.
Humans are capable of heroism when the need arises.
But as a continuous state of being, it’s nothing anyone should aspire to.
Because we’re NOT — superhuman.
It was easier for us to go faster and do more than to figure out how to stop and say no. It was easier to just do it all instead of only handling a more humanly sustainable load. It was easier to be “compassionate” and say yes to everyone.
It was easier to stuff ourselves into every yawning gap because we couldn’t figure out how to ask others to help. And everyone else just figured we had it under control.
But there’s no room to gasp, much less breathe that way.
Chopping every candle in half to burn at all four ends.
Others saw us as compassionate inspirations and examples of capability and strength.
We were called godly women.
But as we saved the day over and over, no one realized we were isolated, starving, and drowning in everything hurled our way.
There was no one to heal the healer.
When you’re always flying by the skin of your teeth, there is no room left to adjust for adversity. No bumper pad.
No reserves left to adjust for human physical limitations.
No space left to pivot out of the way of the oncoming train.
No bandwidth left to actually save lives or survive the next disaster.
No patience left for friends or family.
No place left to even Be.
And the truth is–adversity is inherent in the human condition.
It will come. It’s inevitable.
Living by the skin of your teeth only works inside a closed system.
A place where no anomalies or aberrations exist to overcome.
No challenges. No growth.
No one to get in your way.
And that’s just not human.
Perhaps the next time we are complimented as superwomen,
we should see it as a warning.
We’re in danger. Getting too close to the edge.