Accepting People With Physical Limitations

If You Look Beyond What You See, You Might Learn So Much More

If you spend all your time judging people, how will you have any time to love them?

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Why does humanity find it so difficult to accept people with genetic differences? People downgrade individuals who were born with differences at birth. People make fun of and think of them less than who they actually are. People with genetic differences are human, just as you and I.

Many people in our society are uneducated on people who have physical or mental conditions that limit their movements, senses and or activities. Many people believe that being diverse in today's society is the worst thing you can be.

It is NOT.

In America, according to Statistic Annual Report, it is estimated that 48.9 million people have a functional or physical limitation. It has been reported that 53% of babies have been aborted due to information on prenatal testings, this number keeps increasing rapidly as well. Lastly, across the United States, 63% of people who have a limitation have dropped out of school due to not enough special resources for them and/or others bullying them.

Many people underestimate and assume the capabilities of the person with the challenges. They misconceive information because they jump straight to conclusions. They don't understand the disparity because they never encountered a person who was different than their usual.

Words hurt them, just as much as they hurt us.

They are no different than us. When you refer to them as ''disabled" or "special needs", they believe they cannot and will not overcome obstacles. Like it is impossible, and it might foster a sense of hopelessness.

I have personally met some of the most intellectual, kind-hearted, inspirational and amazing children and adults within the community. Each and every one of them is strong and independent in their own ways. Their abilities with what they can and can't achieve do not define them as who they are, it does not define their personalities and/or what they are capable of.

Their limitations should not be the only thing that defines them. It is what on the inside that really matters the most. They are way more than what you see on the outside.

They do not want to be pitied for what they have, they want to be treated with respect and equal like anyone else.

Being aware of facts is the most integral part of knowledge. I believe the knowledge of people with fundamental and physical limitations do not come from a textbook or online. I believe it comes with compassion to people who face these challenges every day.

Just like everyone else in the world, nobody likes being lumped into stereotypes.

In conclusion, becoming aware does not take an expert, but rather an open mind and a big heart. If you take a chance to explore the things you are not aware of, maybe your views on life will change. You might learn something and your world might change because of it.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Don't Ask Me if it's Real or Not

PSA: Don't ask a girl if her hair is real or not, you may get a response you weren't expecting.

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I am a server at a restaurant in Tampa, and last weekend at work I got asked numerous questions about my hair. Normally, getting asked about my hair isn't a huge issue for me, but it was the comments that were said after, as well as the look of disbelief in this person's face when I answered them.

I walked up to greet my table. Two elderly couples were coming in for drinks and dinner. Putting on my best customer service voice and smile, I introduce myself. As soon as I finish, one of the gentlemen looks at me and says, "WOW. Is that all of your natural hair?" I smile nervously and assured him that this was the hair growing out of my scalp. He then proceeds to add a comment saying,

"It's so big. It looks like you stuck your finger in something and got electrocuted."

I had to sit and pause for a second after hearing this. I think my facial expressions could tell how I was feeling, because his wife jumped in and tried to compliment me on the thickness of my hair, envying it because she didn't have as much hair.

After such an experience, I decided to conduct an Instagram poll, to see what other people's opinions were about this incident, and if it's ever happened to them. Based on the results, people with naturally straight hair don't get asked if their hair is real or not, compared to those with naturally curly hair. Out of those with naturally straight hair, about 76% of the people that voted, have not experienced someone question the authenticity of their hair. On the other hand, of those with naturally curly hair, approximately 82% said they do get questioned about the authenticity of their hair. As a result, 66% of that 82% with naturally curly hair, are of African-American decent or mixed races.

So what's the big deal?

Naturally straight-haired people rarely ever get asked if their hair is real, however, once someone comes along with naturally curly hair and happens to be a person of color, originality is questioned. Why does a certain category of people get asked more often if their hair is real or not? Stereotypes? Ignorance? Genuine lack of knowledge?

Whatever the reason may be, it needs to stop. Wigs and extensions are extremely common in this day and age, but they also aren't restricted to one race of people. Even celebrities of fair skin wear wigs and fake hair.

Whenever I get asked about the authenticity of my hair, people look astonished when I tell them it is all mine. Why would anyone think the hair growing out of my scalp is fake? It is a known stereotype that people of color do have more coarse and curly hair textures, but that also isn't the case for everyone. We need to stop putting people in categories based on stereotypes. This applies to more than just hair texture. Especially when interacting with strangers, you cannot assume things based on what you've heard or any prejudgements you may mentally make. Asking someone if their hair is real or not, is just as bad as asking someone if they got a nose job or breast implants. What if you ask them and they say no? It can be more offensive to that person than you think. I understand there are cases where the person genuinely is uneducated about other hair types, but either way, those types of comments or questions should not be vocalized. As a society we need to be more considerate of the things we say, as well as get rid of stereotypes and negative prejudgments. At the end of the day, we are all the same species. We may look completely different than the person next to us, but that's the beauty of it all.

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