My Simple Prescription for the Superman Syndrome

Are you constantly trying to resolve other people’s issues for them? Do you feel responsible for fixing their problems? Are you afraid of disappointing them by saying “no” to their never-ending demands? Do you feel compelled to help them at anytime, anywhere and at any cost? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the demands placed on you? If so, you may be suffering from the Superman Syndrome (SS).

The SS is about trying to be everyone’s rescuer. Every time someone calls upon you, you take off your glasses, put your cape on and fly to the rescue, chanting “Superman to the rescue!”

Now, helping others is human. However, people suffering from the SS try to help at the superhero level, and by doing so, they lose themselves. As they try to fix everyone else’s issues, they take on more than they can handle. They don’t realize that in the process of helping others their own life is falling apart.

Are you so busy trying to save the world that you’re losing yourself?

You’re not a man (or woman) of steel. You’re a man of flesh and blood (more like Clark Kent, I’d say). There will always be more needs than you can meet; there will always be more demands than what you can supply.

In the process of taking care of others, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Remember that if you breakdown, you can’t take care of anyone.

In a general sense, anyone who takes on too much may be suffering from the SS. If that’s you, remember that if you’re not careful, overachievement might send you over the edge.

Here’s my prescription to you:

  • Say “no”. Yes, say “no”. It’s not always easy – I know – but it’s necessary. Say “no” in a nice way, but say it firmly, with no ambiguity: not “maybe”; not “I’ll look into it”; not “I am not sure”; but “no”. You don’t have to acquiesce to everyone’s demands. Learning to say “no” is critical to your recovery from the SS.
  • Get rid of unnecessary activities. Take time to prune your agenda of needless activities, especially when you catch yourself running around like a headless chicken. Removing worthless activities out of your life will free up your time and enable you to focus on more valuable activities.
  • Rest and relax. Regular rest and relaxation works wonders for your overall performance. It rejuvenates your mind and your body. When you feel that your energy level is low, it’s probably a sign that you need to slow down and recharge. Remember that taking care of yourself is never a waste of time.

Question: What do you do to prevent the Superman Syndrome in your life? You can leave a comment below.