No shame

Posted by jennifer gibson on Tuesday, October 16, 2012
What's amazing is the response I've been receiving from my book Sway.  It has proven to be a wonderful ice breaker and a great way to learn more about someone.  What has happened is that it has opened a door to being more open and comfortable about ourselves and willing to say something like "Yes! I know what you mean!" or "That happened to me too!".  It's been an astounding revelation for all of us. 

What's interesting is that I often hear the phrase "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."  Well, yes, in my case that's inherently true otherwise I wouldn't have been able to have such a strong and profound storyline to write about.  However, in other cases, it can cause a lot of emotional damage and create long term issues such as having difficulty in trusting people.  It's often a two sided coin where you tend to see the first impression that portrays a very strong and dynamic personality while the other aspect is hidden which is rather shy and deeply scarred. 

You wouldn't know that by looking at some people today who are a very important part of the community, a strong leader or run their own business that they were bullied as a kid.  It's not until you get to know them, and I mean really get to know their vulnerable side that you realize that you went through a similar incident as a young child.  As Spock would say, that's fascinating.  It's one of those tangible links that can help tie us all together, a common bond like childhood bullying or living with a disability.  Funnily enough, it's similar to sitting around a campfire and exchanging stories in the dark where you feel safe enough to confide in your friends about your personal feelings. 

Growing up, we are faced with a myriad of decisions about where to go in our journey through life.  We learn, the hard way, how to deal with peer pressure, being bullied or ostracized, and learning right from wrong.  It's all about making choices and having the courage to take that first step onto the right path.  You can choose to give up and become a victim or simply stand up and become stronger, willing to go your own way. 

There's no shame in being disabled.  None at all.  There's nothing wrong with wearing glasses or hearing aids, having to use a cane or crutches or rely on a wheelchair to get around.  That's a part of us, an extension of our bodies and a big part of our life.  Some of the most beautiful and amazing people I have met were disabled.  They simply chose to show the rest of the world that they count -  that they can contribute to the society and feel good about themselves.  They shine so brightly, like stars, because they glow with self confidence, determination and courage.  They could've easily shrank back in fear, away from the onslaught of negativity thrown at them by careless and insensitive people.  Instead they rose above it all and became stronger because they were not willing to be victimized.  They chose to embrace diversity through adversity. 

For all of us, it's about searching within ourselves, deep in our souls, to find compassion and empathy for others.  All of us are unique, we are beautiful, inside and out.  All we have to do is embrace it.

Tags: compassion  empathy  souls  searching  "no shame"  cane  crutches  hearing aids  glasses  wheelchair  adversity  diversity   
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