Thousands of people live with at least one disability all over the world. Most people even have concealed disabilities, such as mental illness, and still, find the will and the strength to live their lives to the fullest. We all know the negative stigma towards disabled people, but a lot has changed since then. Psychologists have shown in their recent studies there are better chances for disabled people in the world we live in today.
Understanding your disability and treating it as strength, could be the key to opening doors to lots of opportunities, and the path to your success. To be able to live the life you want, you must stop using your disabilities an excuse to avoid doing things you want to do. You must value yourself and look at your disability as something that makes you unique, something that makes you a hard worker, something that pushes you to do twice as much as everyone else.
“In our psychology practice, we use a strengths-based approach for assessments, counseling, and treatment versus a more traditional pathologizing model,” writes Dan Peters Ph.D.
It is imperative to practice self-value by realizing your disabilities do not define who you are or what your life has to be like. Develop high self-esteem, avoid blaming yourself, and know you are not responsible for your disabilities, and having them does not mean it ultimately hinders you from a good life. You must understand that the only thing standing in the way of your happiness is yourself; that your success does not rely on the disability itself. Seeing it as strength is merely a plus.
So how exactly do we acknowledge disability as strength? How do we use that to our advantage?
Explore Your Strengths
Know what you are good at, what you like doing, and how your disability positively affects these things. Focus on the attributes you have that make you stand out, things you do uniquely. Encourage yourself to see your disability through a lens of uniqueness, opportunity, and goodness. Working with what you are good at is essential so you know what you can apply yourself to.
Do Not Limit Yourself Because Of Your Disabilities
It is common for disabled people to shy away from activities because they believe they cannot do these things. Limiting yourself is not going to get you anywhere. You must remember that you can have the same life, opportunities, and experiences as everyone else in this world. It is up to you to make an action and take control.
“Acknowledge that these are beliefs, not truths! This is often the hardest step. ‘But, but, my limitations are real!’ Here’s the place where choice comes in. Which are you more interested in: defending your limitations to the death or achieving your goals and desires?” writes Matt James Ph.D.
Remember That Just Like Everyone Else, Your Life Has Meaning
We all live with a purpose, with various abilities to contribute to the world. Do not let society convince you that you do not deserve a happy, fulfilled, and functional life. You were born into this world to live with luster, to explore and use every bit of talent in your body. Do not let anyone convince you otherwise.
“What all these people have in common is that through undergoing intense suffering, they “woke up.” They stopped taking life, the world, and other people for granted,” writes Steve Taylor Ph.D.
Always Ask For What You Need
As people with disabilities, it is essential to acknowledge what you will need to be able to work the way you want to. Ask for things that will help you live the way you want, be vocal about the changes you need in your environment to progress your lifestyle as soon as possible. Never keep to yourself when you know you need something. If you need a particular space for you to work or think, if you want to learn a specific topic or skill that you feel you can excel in, you name it. Remember to be vocal, because staying silent will not help you get anywhere.
Envision yourself in the life you want, and do not stop working until you reach your goals. Everyone lives with a disability; it is just how we choose to live that makes us different. Separating yourself from the negative stereotype and acknowledging your disability as strength is just the beginning of a successful journey. Encourage the world to see disabled people through a multi-faceted lens. Show the world you are not your disability, that it is merely one part of who you are.
Everyday people from the disabled community break social, cultural, and technological barriers all over the world. There are artists, athletes, humanitarians who continue to show the world that their disabilities do not hinder them from creating and contributing beautiful things to the world. Learning that your disability is strength is one part of your journey, the way you use it in this world is what matters the most. Remind yourself that you have no limits and that you deserve to experience life the way every single person on this earth does.