Staying Focused When Confronted By Adversity

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I was born, as they would say today, visually handicapped. That means I’ve had to adapt my life in countless ways. And I have learned that if you don’t adapt, and often adapt quickly, you’ll be miserable, filled with self-pity, and not be the person you were meant to be.

The key to overcoming physical or psychological challenges is simple, but very hard to learn. If you want to do something, get something, or be something badly enough, you can’t let other people or old thinking get in the way of your goals. And you can never give in or give up. Once you do, you’re defeated and you’re headed towards a life of boredom and depression.

You’ll learn a lot of hard lessons over the years. You’ll develop skills that are stronger than the physical boundaries you face…. How not to get rattled by teasing and verbal abuse… How to not feel guilt or shame when you have to use friends and public transportation to get around….How to NEVER be embarrassed by your condition, no matter how “different” you might come across to others.

If others choose to see you in a different way than you and the people who really know you do, it’s THEIR problem, not yours. You can choose to just chalk it up to the ignorance of others or you can be an advocate and educate people to how to deal with others who aren’t just like themselves.

But the most important thing you’ll learn, and sometimes it’s the thing that takes the longest to really sink in, is that who you are is not defined by what you can’t do- who you are is defined by what you can accomplish. And, you can accomplish just about anything you want, if you put your mind to it. Yes, there are things that need special accommodations. There are even some things that some people just will never do.

But if there’s something that you really want to be able to do, I know you can find a way. It’s all about thinking you are gifted by the abilities you have, and not penalized by the abilities you don’t, learning to adapt, having a support network of friends and family who believe in you almost as much as you believe in yourself, and not being afraid to try something at least once.

If you want something badly enough, you can almost always find a way to make it so. It sounds like Pollyanna, but it is the truth, whether you choose to believe it or not at this moment.

There are so many people who don’t have what they consider to be a perfect life. Regardless of the cause, the truth of the matter is that NOBODY has a perfect life. If you keep that in mind, you can learn that there are no reasons that you can’t accomplish almost anything you want. Yes, you might fail the first time. But you CAN do it and prove to yourself and those around you that you have strength, commitment, and self-awareness that far outweigh any challenge you have been given to deal with, physical or otherwise.

Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way or make you think you can’t be or do whatever you want. And when life throws you that curve ball, just figure out how you’re not going to let it hit you.

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