Skip to main content

Are You Ready to Hang Up Your Super Woman Cape?

Are You Ready to Hang Up Your Super Woman Cape by Kelley Grimes at Cultivating Peace and Joy

“The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and

beginning the work of becoming yourself.”  

~Anna Quindlen


In my last article, I explored the idea of having a super power or our unique brilliance we use for good in the world. As a result, many people shared their super powers with me and then reflected on how sometimes their super powers can feel less empowering and more overwhelming. You see when we give more than we receive, our gifts can turn into burdens. That reminded me of how many of us think we need to be Superwoman. 


I have shared this insight at self-nurturing workshops I lead and consistently find that many women identify with the desire to be Superwoman.  One woman even told me proudly that she had a closet full of capes! 


The problem with buying into the need to be Superwoman, is that it is just not sustainable. Instead of feeling good about all we do, we judge ourselves for falling short. Our expectations of ourselves are completely unrealistic as is the amount of energy needed to fulfill all our supernatural responsibilities. 


No wonder why so many of us end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted! 


And no wonder why so many of us walk around with inner critics who are loud, unkind and have ongoing evidence of us not living up to our standards.  


It truly is an impossible situation. 


But in the spirit of self-nurturing, it does not have to be. 


Whether you are a closet Superwoman or proudly display your cape, you can make empowered choices about how much responsibility you want to take on by asking this one discerning question:  


What would happen if I said no? 


There are multiple levels of insight and awareness that you can access by regularly posing this question.  


To start, there is the practical aspect of what will happen if you do not say yes? For many of us we so regularly say yes, we don’t even consider other alternatives, like someone else will step up, it will be done a new way, or not done at all, which might be just fine! 


Then move onto the internal aspect of how it feels to say no, really taking time to acknowledge and affirm your feelings. Then notice with curiosity and non-judgment what thoughts came up as a result. We benefit so much by cultivating our self-awareness, as it supports empowered decision making and is deeply self-nurturing. 


Although you may not be ready to completely abandon your cape, begin by asking “what if I said no?” on a regular basis before habitually saying yes to meeting everyone else’s needs and desires. Embracing your own insights and self-awareness will empower you to make authentic, nurturing choices about how you use your time and energy. 


May you find it easier and easier to take off your Superwoman cape as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out! 


If you are ready to transform your habit of self-neglect, join me for my 4-week self-nurturing eCourse starting Monday, August 7th!


Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

Sign up to receive daily reminders with our mobile app!

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • Lore Raymond says:

    Such a powerful question, Kelley, “What would happen if I said no? ” For me, it has the same energy as “I can choose not to choose.” I only need to please myself by being true and authentic to ME.
    BTW, the image is so engaging, colorful and powerful!

    • Thank you so much Lore for your insights. It takes wisdom and confidence to only need to please yourself by being authentically you. My husband Tony took this picture at Comic Con this year and I loved it too! Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Josephine says:

    Very informative post! I am ready to burn my cape! Becoming authentic is a hard process, but the rewards are beautiful and rewarding.

    • Josephine how liberating burning your cape will be! When we let go of all the unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves we can begin the process of connecting with our authentic selves, which as you say is so beautiful and rewarding. I can’t wait to witness the ripple effects! Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Rachel says:

    Working on it, I often find that saying no is actually saying yes to myself.

  • Andrea says:

    Life makes so much more sense when I’m “not the boss of you.” (Or anyone else – lol). Thanks!

  • Suzie Cheel says:

    Great post Kelley. Oh Yes I know the superwoman feeling, with it can come a positive side of shining you light – it is geting that balance and learning to say know was what i just heard as I was writing this comment.
    I love this “The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
    ~Anna Quindlen so true- when we let go of perfection then we can go within and find the true you xxx

    • I love your wisdom Suzie that when we let go of perfection then we can go within and find the true you! How wonderful to feel we have the option to take off our cape and see how magnificent we are without it! Thank you so very much!

  • Reba Linker says:

    It’s such a balancing act, isn’t it, Kelley?! Very nice to hear you advocate both sides: knowing when to don our capes and when to take them off!

    • There are indeed sometimes that we may wish to don our capes Reba, as long as we are doing it with intention rather than trying to meet some unrealistic standard that reinforces our habit of self-neglect. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • “May you find it easier and easier to take off your Superwoman cape as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out! ” What an inspiration to live by! I’ve certainly removed my cape but must admit it hangs nicely starched in the closet. You know, for costume parties and such… 🙂

    Great post!

    • I love that you find that quote inspiring Sheila! It is nice to know your cape is ready if you ever need to put it back on in case of emergencies or a fun party! Thank you so much!

  • Breathing it all in, Kelley! Loved this article.

  • I took off my cape, gave it a good cleaning, and passed it on to my daughter who seems to think she needs one!

    • Well pass on the blog to her! I love that you took it off and gave it a good cleaning. So liberating Barb and how you live reminds her there is another way of being. I am grateful for your comment – thank you!

  • Kelley, my cape comes off and on when needed. I am good at saying no these days…it feels freeing, especially in the this age of distraction. We can’t do it all! Save the cape for emergencies, and eventually you may not need it at all!

    • I love your wisdom to save the cape for emergencies! I totally agree and believe we have the power to free ourselves each time we mindfully say yes or no, transforming our habit of self-neglect one decision at a time! Thank you so much Debra!

  • Lottie Moore says:

    Ah, thanks for this Kelley – I really need to put more energy into allowing myself to take my cape off more often

    • Take your cape off for a bit and see how that feels Lottie! So much of this work of transforming our habit of self-neglect is about changing how we do things long enough to reflect on how that feels in order to make more nurturing decisions for ourselves. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Debra Reble says:

    What a powerful question Kelley and it gives me pause. I thought I had given up my superwoman cape many years ago but when I stopped and listened to my heart I realized I still put it back on occasionally especially with my practice and business. time to take it off here too. Thank you for the insight and inspiration! Much love xo

Leave a Reply