What can we learn from super hero, comic book, etc. movies? I never thought I would be asking this question. For those of you who have worked with me, you would probably guess that my movie interests are not action or superhero based. Rather, I have historically indulged in romantic comedies, laugh out loud comedies and serious films about the human condition or relationships. Since meeting my husband 6 years ago, I have been exposed to new genres and serious films that I had never experienced before. Challenging my hobbies, thinking, and interests has opened new doors and surprisingly expanded my knowledge base and strengths. So- go see something you never thought you would!
Back to my original thought-I learned that movies that on the surface appear to be purely entertainment may actually illustrate interesting psychological themes. For this piece, I am going to focus on strengths.
Do you know what strengths you have? Being able to identify your strengths is a good step to take in mental wellness. Spider Man can use webbing to climb, grab, swing, capture, and rescue. The X-Men are comprised of characters who can read minds, fly, manipulate metal, and exert amazing strength. Superman can fly, is incredibly strong, and has x-ray vision.
Now that I have listed a few strengths of characters in movies, it's time to ask the next question. How do you use your strengths? The characters mentioned above have used their strengths for good and bad, depending on the portrayal. Some have intended to use their talents and abilities for good, but it turned out to work against them. Some have thought it was appropriate to utilize a particular strength, but it was not the best time to display it. The Hulk, for example, has amazing muscular power, but he sometimes is not able to control its use and can thus hurt himself and those around him.
Next, how can you use your strengths differently? Some situations call for you to use a strength while others do not. We can use our strengths more, less, or differently.
We can and should focus and develop our strengths, not our weaknesses. Think about some famous characters and how they have grown. In the X-Men movies, Professor X puts together an academy to do just this. Characters are taught skills to effectively manage, develop, and utilize their strengths.
There are some great assessments available online if you are interested in learning more about your unique strengths and would like to open a discussion about how they are being used in your daily life.
Here are a few:
VIA Institute on Character
Authentic Happiness Questionnaire Center
Gallup Strengths Center
Let me know what you learn and contact me if you would like to chat more about developing your or your child's strengths.