Life is all a mindset; if you’re willing to change that mindset, you can do anything. If you are living only inside your mind, you’re not living.
Let your disability work for you. Sometimes, you feel like you will be working for your disability when the truth is your disability is the employee. You are the employer—there are many people with a disability who believe that their disability controls them. Yes, there are times that your disability will prevent you from doing things (and that’s ok), but if you stay in that mindset, your disability will win.
Whether you have a disability or an able body, your mind will control what you think and do in life. The mindset will influence everything we do, think about ourselves, and react to things in life. It chooses our lifestyle, but we can program our minds to enjoy life; it begins to see the positive side of life. When we see the positive side of life, we become less of a challenge. Not to say our challenges will go away; the less we force on the challenges, the less they’re in front of our minds.
By changing our mindset, we defeat the negative thoughts that live within us. I don’t want to sound like a self-help book. I learn from life and the school of hard knocks, but if you believe in self-help books, more power to you! I hope it sparks something in you; start conversing with yourself to turn your life around.
I have spent many years in silence, unsure of who I was; it was tough to move forward when I became an adult and was in charge of my own life. When I became an adult, I thought I could do anything any adult my age could do, but that was far from the truth.
Once I grew out of being a child, it wasn’t easy. I felt I was ready to be like my peers, but that wasn’t the case. My family always let me join in with my peers when I could. However, I still couldn’t join in some of the activities. So, yes, I missed out on parts of life because of my disability, but I never realized that until I thought I was in charge of myself. Most times, I was, but sometimes I felt I wasn’t enough.
One of the biggest things I missed out on was the dating part of life as a teen. I was more friends with everyone, but I wasn’t girlfriend material when dating one-on-one with a boy. I never realized how much that left a dark space in me. When I turned into an adult and thought I could date, I was awkward as it was unfamiliar to me, which held me back. I wanted to be a girlfriend and have someone to call my own.
When I thought I was ready to move on in life, date, and be my ideal person, I lived inside my head. I was trying to make the life I saw on TV/movies. I made a dream world in my mind and was trying to make this world come true; it has taken me years and many mistakes to realize I wasn’t living at all.
During the previous 25 years of being an adult, I had been learning how to let cerebral palsy work for me. I want a life like others and know I can have it; I need to realize that I have to and make room for cerebral palsy. Still, from here on out, I never want my cerebral palsy to control my life. It’s life, and I know nothing is perfect, and I don’t want to find myself down a dark road again.
My biggest challenge was letting myself be in charge of myself and not letting cerebral palsy be the one for me.
Step one: I had to start living outside my head and realize that just because I have a disability, the disability shouldn’t hold me back.
Step two is becoming the boss of my disability, but how do I become the boss? The question of how to become the boss of my disability is the most challenging one. In this step, I had to face the most significant imperfection within myself; the disability!
Step three: Write two lists. The first list is everything I think is controlled by the disability, and list two is what I own. By writing these lists, I saw how much the disability took over my life. After writing those lists, I looked at them and saw what I was doing to myself. Yes, I wrote I couldn’t be helped because of my disability, but a lot of what I wrote was because of the negative thoughts I put on myself because of my disability.
When I put negative thoughts about myself, I realized it was more harmful than when others put negatives about me. If you’re like me, when others put negatives on you, you get so upset that you stand up to them. I started to see that when I put the negative on myself, I couldn’t stand up to myself. My mind was in such a negative pattern that I couldn’t force it. However, when someone puts negatives on you, you can picture that person in your mind, defeat them, and show them they are wrong. When you have to stand up to yourself, it’s hard because how will you stand up to yourself or walk away from yourself?
Step four: Find a person to talk to; it can be a friend or family. At some point, you may have to see a medical professional, but for some people, it can be hard to take that step to seek a medical professional. Seeking out a medical professional is a crucial component.
From casual to intimate relationships, the goal is learning how to have the right relationship/s and act appropriately in different situations. I’m better with this part of life, but, at the same time, I’m always working on these stills so I can improve on them in this part of life. One of the ways I practice this is by sitting at the local coffee shop and interacting with people in a friendly environment. When interacting on this level, I’m sharpening my skills to know what to do in an uncomfortable situation.