1. When we don’t take the time to treat others with dignity and respect, we help bring out the worst in them. Buddy simply wanted to hang out with his hero Mr. Incredible. He had always admired him and one day he came up with this brilliant idea: “I can become incridiBoy his sidekick, like Batman and Robin.” It sounded great, but it almost caused him his own life and as a result, a thief got away. Therefore, Mr. Incredible gave Buddy the cold shoulder as he basically told him to stay away since he works alone. Because of the nature of his work, Mr. Incredible was really better off working without a kid at his side, but there was probably a much better way of stating this than to crush a little boy’s self-worth and dignity.
We should never compromise our convictions or settle for less than we think we should, just because we want to be liked by everyone; but we can learn how to say no in a respectful way, even if not everyone likes it. Especially when it comes to children who are still forming ideas and concepts about what the world is like, we need to be extremely careful not to become a wrong piece of the puzzle they are putting together that will ultimately paint a negative picture of what the world is all about. Just like the popular 6-degrees-of-separation theory unites us all somehow, I believe in likewise manner it is possible that all that we have helped create even when it seems like it is completely detached from us, will some how come back to affect us one way or another, whether for good or for bad.
2. Trying to hide your singularities can lead to self-hatred. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is constantly trying to make us conform to one “ideal”, to make us look less like ourselves and more like everyone else. A society that has set out to kill the superheroes in us that we can become more manageable. This is the world The Incredibles found themselves living in; a world that had grown intolerant to greatness, excellence and uniqueness and was now catering to “average”, “normal” and “ordinary”. And as human beings with innate survival instincts who became aware that something was out to kill the essence of who they are, they started to hide. Mr. Incredible along with his sweetheart Elastigirl, decided to go incognito. But the more they tried to conform, the more miserable they became. Very soon they could hardly have a conversation, especially about the subject, without it escalating into an argument. Dad was so frustrated and unmotivated with his life that he just let himself go. His “regular” job that required none of his special skills, was consuming him little by little.
He and his old colleague were constantly intercepting police calls looking for ways to do what they were born to do: use their gifts to serve humanity. But at every step of the way they were cautioned, by the people who loved them, that this activity was dangerous and they should basically be satisfied with being just one more number on a list, one more head in the crowd and just leave those old dreams of grandeur behind. Then came the children and these, very soon, understood exactly what was expected of them: comply, conform and act like everyone else; don’t call attention to yourself it’s dangerous, don’t scare others by being exactly who you are, because they won’t get it, they’ll try to kill it, become someone the world can understand and be comfortable with, here’s the format… So from very young we learn to disguise our superpowers; we hide the fact that we are exceptional and start trying to imitate others.
We learn to talk, walk, act and look like the people around us, while they could well be trying to be like us in some way. The worst part of this ridiculous ordeal is the more we try and try in vain to conform, the more disgusted we become with our singularities and ultimately with the person we really are. This becomes very obvious in Violet, the Incredible teenage girl who possesses the ability of becoming invisible and also to create a force-shield. But what she really wishes she could do, is just disappear, or build a fortress to help her escape from a world that would surely consider her a freak.
3. Anti-heroes are usually just people trying to usurp other people’s power. Yes, Buddy suffered a traumatic experience when he was young. His hero, the person he looked up to and admired, let him down, caused him to doubt himself, to feel little and insignificant. Or did he? You see, that is the way Buddy chose to interpret the event. Mr. Incredible, never meant to do any of this, he actually saved his life that night.
All the superhero did was brush him off the wrong way. But Buddy decided to nurture those wounds, to rehearse those feelings over and over in his head and this lead him to use his brilliance, not to uplift other youngsters, not to bless the world using the combined resources of what he was born with plus what life had dealt him; No, he chose to channel all his energy towards evil and destruction. They say success is the best revenge, yet if your aim is revenge it will lead you to anything but success. What a waste of talent, to use our energy pursuing the wrong things. Instead of climbing up and out of ugly circumstances, we sink lower and lower if we choose to be envious and jealous of other people’s success. When we seek to destroy, rather than to build a great life, the results are always less than rewarding. Buddy chose to bring down superheroes rather than to use his own powers for good. He allowed someone else to tell him he had no powers, therefore, he pledged to strip others of theirs.
4. Many times what we perceive as a handicap can be our greatest strength. The moment The Incredibles decided to put their abilities to good use, they were empowered. They were no longer afraid, no longer timid, they were set free. Sometimes it is necessary to face head-on, the very thing that is trying to kill you to become liberated and allow your “powers” to flow freely. If you are not blessing the world, if you are hiding somewhere trying to be “ordinary”, without even noticing it, you’ll start to shrink little by little. But as you decide that it is time to do what you were born to do, you immediately start to grow and become more powerful.
Have you ever noticed the way some people who once felt threatened and even ostracized because of things like gender, race or social status; once they decide to use opposition as a fuel, actually end up excelling? It has happened time and time again that the supposed disadvantage actually becomes the mechanism that propels them to become winners. And there are countless cases of people who have blessed the world tremendously in diverse fields who have actually claimed that if it were not for their physical handicap, most likely they would have settled for “normal” and “ordinary” but the handicap gave them no other option, since “normal” was not an alternative for them. Whatever it is that you do or posses that sets you apart even if in the past you thought of it as being odd; just give it another look, you could be sitting on the key to a brilliant destiny.
5. When you learn to love yourself, you will have better relationships. Once you have learned to love yourself in a healthy way, once you have learned to forgive yourself of your shortcomings and to acknowledge your own strengths, once your soul has felt its true worth, you become free. You are free to express love, compassion and tolerance towards others; almost compulsively you now have the need to share that experience with another human being and actually with all of God’s creation. The Incredibles experienced this once they decided to be what they were always meant to be. It started when dad was tricked into putting on his superhero’s suit once again.
He immediately had that surge of energy that only comes about when you are walking in the path of your purpose. At home the fighting stopped and the loving came back. You can only give what you yourself posses. And once mom and dad were comfortable in their own suits, then the kids were liberated to feel the same. Violet realized she could do more than a disappearing act and she was finally confident enough to talk to the cute guy she liked at school and he immediately noticed the difference in her. Love and confidence are of such nature that they are impossible to keep to yourself; they will always overflow eventually.
6. Accepting your uniqueness tells others it’s okay for them to accept theirs. It is interesting that the members of the family who were more eager to conceal their powers, were Mom and Violet. Mom was always worried about jeopardizing the family’s safety while Violet, above all, feared she would be considered “different”, and “not-like-other-girls”. Sadly enough, even in a world that is apparently promoting more women than ever before, when you get down to it, many women still chose to play it safe and to be liked, over being bold and aggressive. If they are too smart, they may try to play it down and we are usually trying to modify or completely change the way we look to comply with Society’s so-called ideal.
But I can imagine what an impression it made on Violet’s mind to see her mom comfortable and in full command of her own superpowers. It gave her the courage to do the same; although it took a while to let them flow, which is quite natural. It can take us a while to release what we have tried to hold back for so long; but once we get the handle of it, we will often be surprised as we realize what we have been capable of doing all along.
7. God did not create even one “ordinary” child. I find it very funny that Mr. & Mrs. Incredible just assumed that little Jack-Jack had no superpowers, and that he was just an “ordinary” child simply because the time had not arrived for him to display what his special abilities were. It is often the case that some people even those close to you may undermine your true value because you haven’t done anything that in their estimation is to be considered outstanding. And when they see you in a difficult situation they may worry sick wondering how in the world you are going to make it, being that you cannot help yourself.
But Edna, the eccentric designer, did not share their beliefs; instead she logically concluded that there’s a very slim chance, if any at all, that two extraordinary people are going to produce anything other than extraordinary kids; so she went ahead and made him a suit anyway. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to see the greatness in us that has been sadly taken for granted by those that are too close. If you are a child of a Great and Awesome God, why would you ever conclude that His purpose for your life is just for you to barely get ahead without anything particularly special? I am not suggesting that all of us will become famous celebrities. Maybe this is the greatest misconception in this regard and the reason why many people are willing to sell themselves cheap and be exploited for fifteen minutes of questionable fame, just because they think there is nothing special about them.
What a tragedy! Perhaps there is one thing about them that is considered so awful and shameful which could be precisely the key to their life’s purpose. Lastly, just keep in mind that superheroes usually discover their powers under severe pressure just like it happened with Jack-Jack. While you are cozy in your comfort zone watching life go by, your superpowers may very well lie dormant and comfortable as well. But just like a rusty, ugly, dull piece of coal becomes a priceless diamond through fire and awful pressure, we usually see our superpowers surface during tough times. So no matter what you’ve been through, are going through or what “handicap” you may think you have, it can all serve to awaken the superhero in you; now that’s incredible!
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