Rise Above: Embracing The Differences In Others
When I began my series, my intention was to share my own visual impairment, and the challenges I face when looking for a job. I was going to take readers along with me on my journey to finding a job while sharing the stories of others with disabilities. Now, at the end of this series, it has completed morphed into something else, and I am glad it did!
Not only did it give me the opportunity to open up and share my disability and the struggles I face, but I was able to give a voice to others. I never realized how many people were feeling the same frustration as I was, no matter what their disability was. I have had the honor to share the stories of those with mobility issues, visual impairment, mental illness, the hearing impaired, and those with intellectual disabilities. What I have discovered is the strength, intelligence, and passion each of these amazing people has.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of breaking down some of the stereotyping, even my own, about the abilities of others with disabilities. Yes, I did say my own. Although I am disabled and understand, better than anyone, the challenges, becoming more aware of the unbelievable strength and abilities those with disabilities face was eye-opening.
For so long I have hidden my visual impairment for no other reason than I was tired of the stereotyping and prejudice I faced. It was time for me to stop hiding, and with the help of others willing to share their own stories, I hoped I could share some awareness.
Having a disability is not as uncommon as one would think, in fact, 1 in 5 Americans has some type of disability. That is 20% of our population! So, my question is why is there still so many misconceptions and stereotypes about those with disabilities?
Think about it for a minute. Look around you at the people you know. Every fifth person has some type of disability, and I bet a lot of those people you would never suspect had one. Am I right? For those of you who have someone in your life with a disability, you know the truth, the person behind the stereotypes. The strengths, the abilities, and the determination they possess. You know they are no different than anyone else. It’s about time the rest of the world realizes it.
There is no one in this world who is perfect. There is something about each and every one one of us that causes challenges in our lives, the difference is, some may not be able to hide their differences, and I don’t think anyone should have to.
We were all created to be exceptional in our own right. To possess different strengths and abilities to make this world a better place. Through these differences we offer unique opportunities to share with others, balancing each other out. Can you imagine what this world would be like if we were all the same?
Through the differences in each of us, we can share knowledge, creativity, compassion, and empathy to make the world a better place. Through those differences we can use our particular strengths to help those who may have strengths in a different area, and in return, they can do the same for us. There is so much diversity in the world through race, religion, lifestyles, and slowly but surely, we are learning to accept and empower one another despite our differences. Now it is time we add those with disabilities to this diverse group. Being able to accept, understand, and show love to every one, regardless of their differences is what God intended for the world.
As I mentioned before, I have learned so much about others through this series, so beginning today, I am going to do my very best to look at others for who they are and embrace their differences. To see their differences not as who they are, but something that is just a small part of them. I am going to try to better understand each person for their individual gifts rather than assuming. I am going to open my heart in acceptance and hope the same is done to me.