Disability confidence can be difficult. The struggles are acceptance and adjusting to a new reality in a world that still holds grudges against what's different.
With a disability diagnosis often comes the loss of self-respect, lack of confidence and an existential crisis. How can you truly embrace this significant change in your life? How can you help others, and what can able-bodied people do to help? Is Disability Confidence possible?
We will try to answer all these questions down below.
Disability Confidence: the basis
You're disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment with a "substantial' and 'long-term'" negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
The Oxford dictionary defines disability as a "physical or mental condition that limits a person's movements, senses, or activities."
Some people are born with a disability, while others may be affected by one later in life. Having a handicap can affect how you live your life and alter your perception of yourself; whether you're hearing or speech-impaired, have a learning disability, are a wheelchair user, suffer from a chronic invisible illness, or you merely endure the impact of ageing.
Too often, people with disabilities lack self-esteem and cannot believe they are valued by others because they suffer from how others react to them, which diminishes their self-worth. If we all treated people equally by respecting their dignity and identity, the world would be a much better place and disability confidence wouldn't be so difficult to achieve.
But, since we are not there yet, we all need to find ways to accept and love who we are, valuing ourselves enough to realise we deserve to live our best life.
What can you do to feel more disability confident? What makes the difference?
Here are some ways to boost your self-esteem and take control of your life. It's a gradual process, a mantra to live by day by day. If you are aging and you struggle with your body and your abilities that are changing, if you care for someone who has a disability or you are living with one, these steps will help boost disability confidence or enhance your lifestyle and improve your self-esteem.
Accepting your situation is your first step. You will never be confident if you cannot fully embrace who you are or understand your new self. Change doesn't necessarily mean you're worse off. Work past that feeling of embarrassment and guilt, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are not defined by your physical ability or strength, and the people around you love you no matter what. While disability can seem to take over someone's life, it's essential to keep it from being all-consuming. You may need new accessories to enhance your independence or other people's help for the simplest tasks. Always keep in mind you are not a burden, so do not be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs assistance, so do not be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for it. It's better than trying to struggle all by yourself. You can receive support from others and still maintain your dignity - needing help doesn't make you less worthy of happiness and respect.
Do not measure yourself against anything or anyone else. It is easy to focus too much on other people's lives, but don't do this! Don't let anything or anyone take control of your life. You are unique and entitled to live your life the way you want to. You are not an inspiration to others, you don't need to prove anything to anyone. You only need to be true to yourself and be proud of who you are.
Find a supportive community. Being around like-minded people will empower you to take control of your life. Surround yourself with people who truly see you and appreciate you, join groups for activities you love. Blue Badge Co is a fantastic place for that, and we also have a Facebook Group you can join!
- Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. When we feel a bit under the weather, we tend to dwell on what we cannot do. Think about the things you enjoy doing, write down your goals for the future, put on a playlist that boosts your mood and remember all the things you are grateful for! You will feel better. Nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes.