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Personal Reflections

A Life Lesson in Disability

Written by Sean Komorowski

No matter the type of person, there are lessons that can be learned from them. People with disabilities are especially influential, as our hardships in life aren’t easily dismissed. We go through every day with determination and strength, by which many people are bowled over, or left secretly wondering if they could do the same.

People with disabilities learn so much throughout their lives; life lessons that able-bodied people rarely have the opportunity to experience.

Having a disability is definitely difficult, but it’s also one of the richest classrooms a human can experience. While these learning experiences are more profound experienced directly, there are some special tokens of wisdom we can pass along:

1) True happiness really is possible in a “broken” body.

Many say they would rather die than live with a disability, which, quite frankly, makes me laugh. That’s because most able-bodied people can’t imagine being happy if their body was ever permanently broken. But the truth is the human brain is very adept at transitioning into someone with a disability, if you let it, that is.

After a couple of years of being emotionally bullied because I am “differently-abled,” I thought that I would never find true happiness. But I did! I found it through simply being alive, by surrounding myself with family, and true friends and by giving of myself through volunteering.

2) You can’t judge a person by their looks.

You hear it all the time; don’t judge a book by its cover. From Stephen Hawking, the brilliant physicist in a wheelchair who can’t speak, to Francesco Clark, the quadriplegic CEO of a huge beauty product company – you mustn’t ever think that having a disability is equitable to being unimpressive or unsuccessful. In many cases the exact opposite is true.

3) Accidents can and will happen.

When you hear about people becoming disabled through an accident, you always think it could never happen to you, and you almost look at it like a TV show or movie — something that could never be your reality. But the cold-hard truth is that accidents that cause disabilities happen every day, and they could likely happen to you or someone you know. Disability is part of the human experience, and the realness of this possibility is tangible in all lives.

In the end, we must remember that we are all human beings. No matter our differences, we are all striving to lead a life that we can call our own. We are not your inspiration, we are not a spectacle; we are people, just like you.

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