I got a message recently from a high school senior who’d visited my blog, he had a birth defect that affected one of his hands and had recently become more conscious about it in social settings. He asked if I had anything to share.
Well this got me thinking, really thinking, what was it I had learnt since losing my hand 3 or so years back that I might be able to share? For what it’s worth, here’s what I came up with.
First, right at the beginning my mindset was that whilst I might have a disability, I didn’t consider myself disabled. My disability wasn’t who I was, it wasn’t my ‘identity’ or how I saw myself. I decided to have fun with my disability, to challenge my disability and be playful about it with others.
Secondly, I refused to see myself as being any different. I knew that if I started to see myself differently then other’s would pick up on it and feel differently, even awkward, around me, which I would then pick up on, which would then re-inforce my own negative feelings and start a vicious cycle. If you see yourself differently from how you wish others to see you, don’t be surprised when you perceive that others see you thus. If you feel incomplete, or disabled, or disfigured or whichever way it is for you, then with that in your mind you’ll start to perceive that that’s how others are thinking of you, it’s all bullshit, but, that’s just the way the mind works.
Thirdly, I look odd, people will stare, it means nothing, it’s just a natural reaction. Hell, when I catch myself in the mirror I stare, my body lacks symmetry, the human mind is used to symmetrical bodies. The question is, what does it mean to you when you catch someone glancing your way? Whatever you think they are thinking, I can guarantee you are wrong, you have no way of knowing what the other person thinks, so I prefer to believe they find me so incredibly attractive that they can’ help but look my way. I just smile, be open to questions or just continue on my way. Forget the stories you tell yourself about what you think they are thinking, again it’s bullshit. Generally I’m oblivious to it, but occasionally I’ll catch someone and it makes me smile.
Here’s a great video on this very topic:
I hope that this might help someone in some small way, remember you get to decide the meaning you attach to an event in your life…why not make that meaning serve you rather than hinder you.