By Gulraj Bedi:
‘It’s not the disability that defines you, it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents
you with.’ – Jim Abott
Today, when I look at myself, I witness sheer darkness surrounding me. I hold myself responsible for throwing myself into a dark prison of disabilities from where neither can I be freed and nor do I have the courage to walk away. But with the passage of time, I somehow realised that whatever has been lost can be regained. I realised that I actually stand a chance of breaking the shackles of the limitations and rise above all odds. My disability has nothing to do with my capabilities and potential.
Let me tell you that I am not the only one, there are around 785 million people suffering from physical limitation of one or the other kind. Some are born lame, others are born premature, some are born with respiratory problems. Some children even acquire prenatal disabilities. A lot of children inherit chronic illness from their parents and end up living a life of loneliness and sorrow. These children, and even adolescents, have been living in a perpetual state of loneliness without an identity.
In most cases, it is observed that children are born with disabilities, but they end up becoming ‘handicapped’. It does not happen because of their disabilities but because of the sympathy and segregation they undergo while living in the society. This cruel and good for nothing society makes them feel out-of-place as if disabled people do not have the right to live. One thing which needs to be stated here is that no one is born perfect, no one is born without a limitation.
When you are dealing with a disability, it is extremely important to come to terms with it. You just can’t keep crying over your limitations. This will, perhaps, be one of the most daunting tasks. Once you’ve accepted your situation, living with a disability becomes a lot easier. Remember, acceptance holds the key over here. Well, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your dreams and aspirations behind and travel on the road to mediocrity.
Secondly, don’t let anybody make you feel inferior. Be confident and assertive when you deal with people who have a negative perception regarding you. You may have to deal with people who may, in all fairness, doubt your abilities and capabilities. Don’t let them fill your mind with self-defeating thoughts. Just try to avoid them, keep it as simple as that.
I’d like to tell you that a disabled person’s world is not at all limited to his/her disability. There’s a lot more to explore. Spend time and cultivate your strengths as it’ll help you boost your self-esteem. For instance: I keep on writing whatever comes to my mind. Well, it doesn’t matter that everything one writes has to make sense. Just keep following your passion and you’d lead a happier life.
Next, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in asking for help when you’re in need of it. You don’t have to push yourself hard in an attempt to accomplish your goals. Your health getting affected owing to the excess pressure is perhaps the last thing you need.
Last, but certainly not the least, be positive. Well, I’m not talking about the blood group. I mean, integrate yourself into the society. Ah, now this may seem quite difficult owing to the extent of challenges that you may have to face in your daily life, but don’t let that sense of negativity overpower you. Instead, pull yourself together because only then you’d be able to give yourself a new lease on life.
So, to top it all, everything depends on how we look at our disability. There’s an age-old saying which says “we have two choices, either we can complain that the rose bush has thorns or we can admire that the thornbush has roses.” So, it all depends on how the problem of physical disability is dealt with.
The world needs to understand that people are neither weak nor strong. Thoughts, mindsets and ideas make people weak or formidable. The world needs to understand that people born with disabilities also have the right to shape their future just like any other human in this world. In order to achieve something, we must have faith in ourselves and our capabilities. “Believe and the world is yours!”
If Gulraj’s fighting spirit motivated you, maybe you’d also like to read what Vinayana had to say: I Have Cerebral Palsy. It Limits Me, But It Cannot Stop Me