People with disabilities don’t get respect. People often see disabilities as less than. The most essential and valuable thing in life as a person with disabilities is self-respect. It has taken several years and going down a few bumpy roads in life to realize this. Getting respect for others when you have a disability is challenging, and it can be even harder to give yourself self-respect. A person with a disability may hear more negative than positive about who you are because of your disability. When people disrespect you a lot more than usual, it can make it easier for you to disrespect yourself in the end.
As humans, we tend to force in on people’s negative ideas about us. As a person with a disability, this can be all we hear in life. The real issue is that people who say those negative things don’t take the time to see past disability.
Having a disability can be scary and challenging, making us uncomfortable in our skin. Any chance we have in life to receive positivity we should take. It can be easiest to find the negative in ourselves. When people feed us so much negativity in life, we start to believe it and want it.
We like little things about ourselves because we may not see past our disability or adverse events in life because of our disability. For a person with a disability, it means we are different. It can be challenging to see past the words, labels, and all that people say and think about disabilities.
Then there are times when we, as the person with the disability, can’t see our past our disability, yet others will see past our disability, so why is that, and how can we change others if we can’t change this within ourselves. As a child, my family was my voice in that struggles and challenges while I was in the middle. As I got older, I had to become my own voice; this wasn’t what I wanted to do. For many years I ran away from this part of myself; it wasn’t until the past two years I realized that doing that was the most significant disrespect I was giving myself.
What made me realize this was many people and things. The bottom line was that I had to change my opinion by understanding a part of myself I couldn’t change. My disability feels like a child I have to take care of; I always hated myself. It made me feel inadequate as a person, a woman, and a human. It wasn’t until I was able to find myself that I could find a way to give myself the self-respected that I would need to change others.
So how can we change ourselves to be able to help change others? That is what it is. There is no way of changing ourselves until we want to be within ourselves. How do we expect people to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves? (side note this can go with any person in any community “IF WE DON’T RESPECT OURSELVES, WHY SHOULD WE EXPECT OTHERS TO RESPECT US). Learning to respect everything about ourselves is learning to love our imperfection. For me, my imperfection is my cp. For most people with cp, that is their imperfection; it’s not right or wrong, but there comes a time in everyone’s life that they have to say, Am I GOING TO LET THIS IMPERFECTION GET THE BEST OF ME, OR Am I GOING TO USE THIS IMPERFECTION TO MAKE ME LIVE MY LIFE. There is no timeline to understand this within yourself, but while trying to understand, you can be mean to yourself but expect others to be open with you. The tricky part is that if you want people to respect you but yet you don’t respect yourself, how does that work.
The only place self-respect starts within ourselves. If we don’t start, why do others respect us? When you start giving yourself respect, you can begin to change. One last thing about self-respect is once you find it within yourself, be humble about self-respect because when you have a humbleness about yourself, then that is when you can truly change the world.