16 August 2008

Stand For Something

Stand for something or you will fall for anything!
By Deborah Pipas

This statement was made by Alexander Hamilton, of course he was talking about something entirely different than disability. So often we forget that we need a purpose in our lives. It is up to each of us to choose our own convictions and the things that we will stand for on our journey.

In the past few years my life has been deeply touched and changed by the disability of a loved one. Often in the past I found myself taking the “whatever” attitude. In other words do what ever you wish just don’t bother me with the details. After much thought, I have realized that it is a very poor attitude indeed! Attitude can cause unhappiness in our lives and usually we are the ones making that choice. It takes real commitment to stand for the things we believe in no matter what others think about our ideas and convictions. Advocacy for the disabled and their families, and assisting others in seeking education and resources to become their own self advocate are immensely important in my plan for the future.

There are a many disabled folks who literally cannot stand for themselves but they are still figuratively able to stand for the things in which they believe. Most of us are able to stand for our rights as human beings and we do have the power to make others know that just because an individual is disabled, does not mean that person is incapable of entertaining thoughts and feelings concerning all sorts of issues that truly belong to them. For those that don’t have that ability it has become a life choice for me to stand in their place.

As we become more aware of all the different types of disabilities in our society, we begin to see those that are disabled from birth, others that are disabled by accidents, a vast number of people that are mentally disabled and far too many other disabilities to list here. We all have a disability in one way or another, for some of us we may experience poor vision or mild hearing loss which is so minor it doesn’t even qualify for a real disability but, it is just the same. Others go through life burdened down by emotional issues that limit their quality of life.

Hurting people are everywhere throughout our world. Some isolate themselves by choice, others don’t know how to make friends or they have been so badly hurt or abused that they don’t trust anyone. People separate themselves from others just to avoid rejection, daily we see those who put on their best face and march out to do their jobs, personal errands or whatever they must do just to return home and close the world outside. This is another just form of disability.

Are you trying to close out the world? Maybe reading this will help you to realize that emotionally that is just what you are doing. Could it be that out of fear or mistrust of others you are not extending a helping hand to anyone? How can we expect anyone to extend a helping hand to us when we keep the emotional doors closed and locked? Do we avoid helping others because we fear the outcome?

Each of us must endeavor to locate the resources that apply to our personal needs. This is not always an easy task especially when we insist on doing it alone. It is up to each of us as an individual to educate ourselves and to do the research to find answers to our own needs. However, if we allow others to be a part of our world we can overcome the loneliness that we bring upon ourselves through our own emotional disability.

We must stand for something! What are you going to stand for? Will you reach out to others and endeavor to make a difference, or will you close the door and hide inside yourself because you are afraid that you will be hurt emotionally? There is truly power in numbers so if we stand unified we can accomplish much more than we can ever imagine.

Believe in your dream, search for your dream, help someone else accomplish their dream and your dream will become a reality.

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