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Elastigirl Saves the World

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

My favorite super heroine is Elastigirl. When the Incredibles movie was released, my children were just old enough to be completely captured by the storyline and so I had the privilege of watching it several dozens of times. I didn’t actually mind. We all related to a character in the movie–that actually was…incredible. I cannot say the same thing about the Barbie movies or Transformers cartoon series. Personally, I found myself cheering for Elastigirl, aka Helen Parr, the can-do, get-it-done mom/spouse/closet superwoman who reluctantly flips the switch to basically save her family and the world. You know, the usual. Why am I writing about a cartoon character, you ask? Well, Elastigirl is an excellent example of resilience, physically and mentally. In the case of the Parr family, Elastigirl’s resilience and ability to actively coach her children and encourage her spouse is what saves the day.

When I reflect on my journey, there are some key times that strengthened my resilience and showed me that I was capable of succeeding through hardship, breaking barriers and growing out of failure. Resilience is a muscle. When it’s worked, it gets stronger. Through repetition, it builds muscle memory and becomes automatic–even in tough times. Consciously engaging resilience can be enormously helpful in mentally preparing for a potentially challenging journey ahead. A strength-based mindset is a powerful tool for staying focused on the desired outcome no matter the situation.

When I was considering graduate school I was terrified I wasn’t going to measure up and was not going to be able to balance the demands of both family, school and two full-year internships. I had done hard things before, but this was different because it involved the wellbeing of my then five and eight year old children while my spouse traveled extensively for work. During those three years, I rarely felt like I had it all together and there were numerous obstacles. My life was a long way from “Instagram ready” wasn’t pretty. However, through every trial, close call and juggling act, I told myself “I was enough”: Capable enough, gifted enough, caring enough and designed for this moment of my life. There were times when I faltered; I was exhausted and felt stretched to my limits. During these times I relied on my faith and my closest loved ones to listen, let me vent or despair and then give me a loving shove back into the fray. They were right, this is where I wanted to be and the only path was through.

To be clear, resilience is not a reason to keep pushing through something that is not healthy or may no longer be worth it. There are times to step back and reflect on a circumstance and whether to stay the course or navigate in a different direction. Ask yourself: Am I listening to my ego? Or am I using my values as my compass? You can continually look for opportunities to build strength and growth so when you find yourself in the middle of a storm, you will have a base to rely on as you navigate through. Whatever course you choose, your previous experiences will guide you when deciding whether to redirect your efforts or stay the course.

While Elastigirl’s physical adaptability is impressive and humanly impossible to replicate, we can learn something from her mental and emotional journey through a sudden life transition into a scenario she didn’t ask for or want. Some questions to consider: How have you adapted and recovered despite challenges? How did it impact your confidence and belief that you would overcome future tests or threats? Did you have a mantra, verse or statement you used to remind yourself of your potential? Please leave your answers in the comments. I’d love to hear your story of resilience and overcoming obstacles!

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