How do I stay thriving like my bad self? The truth, I don’t! Living life is hard sometimes. Living with a disability is hard. Living in an inaccessible world is hard. And I don’t feel like I’m thriving when very real stuff is going on. It’s more like I look like I’m thriving even when I’m not!
Some may call this toxic positivity, but honestly I’m just faking it till I make it. Some days I feel like I really am thriving and other days I don’t. And some days it’s somewhere in between.
One thing that has helped me get through my day to day is intentionally changing the language in my head. We’re not taught about disability from a young age or at least I know I wasn’t and I know a lot of people around me also didn’t know much, if anything, about disability. So when I attained my spinal cord injury and became disabled, it became a goal of mine to unlearn a lot of the typical societal standards I had been programmed with and relearn what it means to be disabled and open my heart and mind to a more inclusive worldview.
I needed to get out of my able bodied mindset and switch my affirmations to be more inclusive. That was and still is hard. Disability, though normal, isn’t normalized. So unless you go out and really seek it, you may not find any resources for this mental shift and adjusting to life with SCI or any disability is a lifelong journey.
I’ve felt it all. The anger, helplessness, frustration, depression, fear, etc. that comes with an injury I’ve encountered. I’ve also felt joy, happiness, and contentment with my life now. And that mostly comes from what I tell myself.
Switching the affirmations for me looked like understanding my needs and wants have changed and that’s ok.
From switching saying “I am independent” to “It’s ok to ask for help when needed” or “Every one needs help at some point”. That one’s hard, let me to tell y’all, but I’m working on it.
Instead of being in control, I had to let a lot go, and “I won’t stress over the things that I cannot change” became important to acknowledge. I may not be able to change my situation but I can change what I can best I know how. “I can adapt.”
Then of course, my favorite “I’m worthy” because our own negative thoughts can really attack the mind and not so nice people as well and society and just the world in general, so remembering that I’m worthy despite everything is important.
That’s just one way I thrive. I try to stay as present and content as possible. My life is no where near perfect or as peaceful as I’d like it to be, but I got a roof over my head, my cares been getting figured out some how some way through all the difficulties, I got food on the table, and so far I’ve been abundantly blessed through this difficult new journey. And I know not all agree with this type of advice but it really could be worse ya know.
I thrive like my bad self because I want to remember joyful moments throughout my life when my time comes. It’s why I stress “do one thing a day that makes your soul happy” because then you can at least look back on that for that given day. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be something someone said, something you said, an idea you had, a place, reading a book, a note, a gesture, a moment of peace even. Just anything to look back and say “that was a joyful moment”.
I hope this helps anyone it can because for me personally this life is hard ok! There’s so much I miss and want back, just read the last blog “Grief After SCI”, but I’m here for whatever reason, and if that reason is to simply thrive as my bad disabled self then ok, I’ll do it! My circumstances are different and maybe more difficult, but I can still make them joyful and I think that starts with what I tell myself.
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