I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a disability. There is only different ways of being in this world. In my mind my colleagues with “visual impairments” aren’t impaired they just experience the world differently.
The truth is we all experience the world differently. I have dyslexia and I am highly sensitive and empathetic. My whole life I tried so hard to fit into a world that was not made for me so I stuffed those aspects of myself that didn’t fit as best I could. The differences I have, my dyslexia, high sensitivities and empathic tendencies, are easier to hide than some other peoples’ differences.
I realized that for some unknown reason our culture continues to develop certain sets of norms, rules, accepted behaviors, values, etc. that seem to only be designed for certain types of people. I’m not sure why this happened or who got to decide what these acceptable norms, behaviors, values or preferences are. I do think that they are subject to change and constantly evolving. Society continues to dictate certain standards of how we are supposed to experience things. Down to how we want to dress, decorate our homes, movies we should like, people we should find attractive, what jobs we should want, how we should want to look, etc. If you watch HGTV for awhile these days you’ll start thinking you want a white kitchen.
These standards are constantly serving to pull us away from connecting with and knowing our inner self. Pushing us to fit ourselves into a contrived version of what society deems we should be. The problem is that we all have different ways of experiencing the world – different needs, preferences, desires and goals. Succumbing to conformity sets us up to lose touch with our inner guidance system, to not know and love our true self. We ended up seeing ourselves as flawed and feeling we don’t have enough. Society pushes us hard towards a state of spiritual disfunction and soul sickness.
People who are labelled as having “disabilities” in this standard view actually are given a powerful gift. For them to conform to society’s standards is so hard that the choice they are presented with is even more powerful than the average person: they can try to conform and suffer greatly or they can fully accept themselves and prosper as a result. I have had the honor of meeting and being inspired by some individuals lately who have chosen the latter approach and as a result are happier and more successful than their counterparts in the same environment who don’t have “disabilities.”
Who got to decide what constitutes a disability and a desired ability anyways?
What our society deems impairments or challenges I see as a different way of being is this world. Not bad or good just different than the next person. We can all be held back or can soar high it all depends on our personal choices. We can push ourselves to conform or we can choose to follow our inner guidance and get to truly know and love ourselves for who we are right now. It’s up to us.
Who we are is always evolving; today’s challenges could be tomorrow’s assets. We need to be in a constant state of accepting who we are in this moment and letting go of our attachment to who we thought we were yesterday or even this morning. Our lives are made up of constant cycles of death and rebirth. The less we attach our identity to this ever-changing external reality and the more we connect to our deep eternal inner state the more content we will feel.
By rooting ourselves internally and refusing to conform to external dictates we help to create a better world. A world that teaches our children, by example, to develop a strong inner trust and connection. We show our children that we value and true ourselves above all else. We teach them to be true to themselves.