Friday, January 22, 2010

Self Image

One of my greatest life learnings has been about self-image. Having had a childhood disability, overcoming that to become an international fashion model and then becoming disabled as an adult - gives me a very unique perspective on self image.

Self image comes from our relationship to others. It is easy to develop a negative self image when you have a disability. Other people see a disability as a sign of inferiority. When other people disregard your right to privacy by asking what happened, or when they ask the person next to you what you will be ordering or when they pat you on your back, or otherwise treat a disabled person like a child, these encounters affect self image. The feedback we recieve from others is that we are not capable, worthy or self sufficient.

This in turn creates a negative cycle because of that encounter we tend to push people away. Isolation leads to depression and depression creates a negative outlook. Our negative outlook then leads others to see us as less than capable. Ultimately, a person with a disability needs to find their source of acceptance through self love. We must put ourselves above the shortcomings of others in a spirit of love and forgiveness.

1 comment:

  1. Just read your blog about self-esteem. It is very insightful. I appreciate your sharing of this wisdom, especially the importance of people communicating directly with a person who has a disability rather than talking to the people who are with them. Your point that it is an invasion of a person's privacy to ask, "What happened?" is also very important. I am the mother of an adult son who uses a wheelchair to travel around this earth. When he was a child some people would ask, "What is wrong with him." My response was to ignore the question generally, or to simply respond with one word, "Nothing" and then leave the situation. In truth there is nothing "wrong". People with a disability are differently abled.