Danielle McGill is an advocate with cerebral palsy on a mission to help people with disabilities lead independent lives. Below she explains the importance of embracing your disability.
Whether you were born with your disability or it was acquired, we all go through different stages of acceptance. Then there are those of us who never quite get there. It can be one of the most difficult things.
Personally, I know it's not easy accepting a body that's not as strong as you would like it to be, but there are dozens of reasons why you should do so anyways. If you're looking to embrace your life with a disability, read on for the 10 ways embracing your disability can change your life.
1) It's totally freeing.
As humans, we worry daily of what other people think about us, and this feeling is heightened 10 times or more when living with a disability. However if we embrace our disability and no longer care if we get stared at or worse, we open up a completely new 'free' way of living, feeling and thinking. If you can go through life without worrying about what people think, you'll be amazed at how much happier you'll be.
2) No more Shame.
There is a lot of shame that many individuals with disabilities feel. Whether they're with family or in public, people with disabilities are frequently ashamed of who they are compared to their peers in society. By embracing your disability and telling the world, "I love who I am because it is me, and I love me," the feeling of shame will melt away. You’ll no longer feel judged. You’ll begin to define your abilities.
3) You can Begin your Life.
This is especially true with individuals who attain their disability through an illness or injury. When you don't embrace your disability, you may unconsciously put your life on hold. Whether it’s not wanting to go back to work or school because you're afraid of how different it will be, or maybe you know you have to find a new profession and it just seems too hard, many are afraid to move on.
Maybe you don't want to live your life fully as a person with a disability and would rather wait for a cure. It's important that you find some way to get around this way of thinking and truly embrace your disability. You don't have to love it, but you can embrace who you are and know that life is calling. When you see your life this way, you will be happier.
4) People will be Drawn to You.
One of the best things about accepting your disability is that the energy you give off will change to a more positive outlook. When your energy is positive, people who don't know you and people who do will be drawn to you. This helps when making new friendships as well as keeping other relationships whole.
5) It'll help you focus.
Another important thing happens when you embrace your disability. You stop thinking about it all the time. When you're able to do that, you're able to move on to more important endeavors like your job or your family. There are many things in life that are a lot more important than being overwhelmingly concerned with your disability.
6) Life is too short.
You hear it all the time, and that because it's true. Life is short; time goes by quick. Whether or not you embrace your disability, you have to admit you don't want to waste too much time feeling like crap in your life because you're disabled. If you do, your disability wins.
7) Its practical.
We all get more practical as we get older - saving money for retirement, finding smarter ways to do things, avoiding drama - and if you really want to be as smart as possible, embracing your disability is part of this equation. All good things can happen by embracing who you are, whether you like certain aspects of who you are or not. You are no longer fighting the reality of the situation. You’re enjoying life.
8) You'll make more Friends.
Another great thing that happens when you embrace your disability is that you will make more friends, especially friends who have disabilities. While this may seem like something you don't necessarily need in your life, believe me when I say you do. When you accept your disability you're much more prone to hanging out with other people with disabilities. This gives you different perspectives of how individuals see their abilities.
9) Call yourself Happy.
With fewer struggles, there is more happiness, and this is one of the core lessons of accepting your disability inside and out. When you embrace who you are, you'll finally reach a level of happiness that you weren't at before.
10) Increased Self-confidence.
And without question, one of the best things that can happen when you embrace your disability is your self-confidence. It really can transform how you feel about yourself when you embrace your wheelchair, amputated limb, scars or whatever else. Self-love, people. That's what it's about.
It's never easy, but embracing your disability needs to happen. We all know tomorrow is never guaranteed and that is exactly why this is essential.
Be strong. Think of the positive.
Have you embraced your disability? How were you able to do it?