Become Your Superhero Self: Four Lessons we can all Learn from Superheros

By Yoni Sobin, PsyD

Lesson #1: Origin Stories

“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.” Batman reflected these words at the end of The Dark Knight Rises (2012) to the chief of police, who did this very act for Batman after his parents were murdered in front of his eyes. This was Batman’s origin story – an event or series of events that lead us to become the person we are today. Without this event, Batman may never have donned his cape and cowl and saved Gotham time and time again.

Like Batman, we all have our origin stories. Which means we all can become superheroes, larger than life. Becoming a superhero is no easy feat, but luckily, using a series of strategies, you can transform yourself into your own version of a superhero to fight and combat your inner demons or monsters. In becoming your superhero self, it is important to acknowledge the events that lead you to become who you are today, whether positive or negative, pleasant or unpleasant.

Lesson #2: Weaknesses are Normal

All superheroes have weaknesses, their personal monsters. Expose Superman to Kryptonite and he becomes weak. One way to make our minds less scary is to think about our negative thoughts, emotions or behaviors as ‘monsters.’ This can help create distance between the idea of our ‘self’ and our thoughts, and helps us to recognize the true fact that who we are and what we think, feel or even do, are not one and the same. Taking things a step further: The ultimate goal is not to exterminate our monsters, but to learn be a superhero despite them.

Lesson #3: The Importance of Mentorship

Every superhero needs a mentor. Batman had Alfred, Spiderman had Uncle Ben. Take a moment to think of someone who you look up to – someone who you might consider to be a personal hero, who you view as being a source of wisdom for life. In moments of distress, it can help us to try to take perspective and think about what this person might say to us. Imagine that this person knew your entire story, even the things you’ve never told anyone else (maybe not even your therapist!) Thinking about what they might say is a great strategy to get through challenging moments.

Lesson #4: Choose Your Arsenal

Every superhero has a weapon. Like Harry Potter, you can use a proverbial magical wand to change how you think, feel, and act day-to-day. Here are two ideas: The “gratitude charm” and the “diffusion spell”. The gratitude charm is done by thanking your monsters for trying to protect you from harm. Imagine talking back to anxiety, depression, or shame and saying something like “thank you for your concern and trying to protect me from danger, but I can manage without your beating me down and making me feel badly about myself. I’m strong enough to handle this. I know you care, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.” The diffusion spell changes your relationship to your thoughts, by reminding you that who we are is not the same as how we think. Along these lines, someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may say “I’m having the thought that something bad will happen to my children if I step on the ground in the wrong way. I’m experiencing the emotion of fear”. By taking this approach, our personal monsters become something we experience rather than something we are.

In summary, becoming your superhero self can be a scary process, but in the end we come out feeling significantly more empowered knowing that we have tools to combat the darker corners of our mind.

As Alfred told Batman: “Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.


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I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
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When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
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When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
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When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
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When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
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I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
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