What do you feel when you encounter someone blind or moving around on a wheel chair? Maybe shame, pitty, fear? Or maybe you feel an extraordinary admiration for that person??
Maybe you think it would be too tough for yourself to handle such adversities in life…maybe you think you would give up if it happened to you.
Let me share an honest feeling with you. It may sound weird but I am very thankful for the valuable lessons my severe visual disability has taught me.
Yes, I thank my blindness for the opportunity it has gifted me with in terms of learning about myself and about happiness.
The differences between those who can see and those who can’t, like so many other differences between us human beings, are mere drops in an ocean of what we share, what brings us all together in this adventure of life.
Trusting ourselves and others, dealing with loss, learning to love and to be loved, facing professional challenges…these emotional, mental and behavioral factors are what we all share as essential for our levels of happiness or unhappiness.
In this sense, I would like you to approach the next 7 valuable lessons as a personal and honest experience handed to you by someone who is not to inspire pitty but neither to inspire being some kind of super hero. I’m nothing but a hungry human being, hungry for personal growth and for a better life.
7 lessons my disability has taught me about happiness
1. Imagination creates, eyes can only wait and see
Since I was a small kid I consider myself to be a dreamer. Maybe the fact that my first loved song was Imagine, by John Lennon, explains some kind of unconscious desire for a better world.
Being blind eases a rich inner life and my imagination often flew to what could possibly happen rather than staying in what was taking place in front of me.
Later on I’ve learnt to actively transform thos dreams into real projects, creating with my imagination what eyes can only passively observe being done (or not) by others. Of course this requires action but every single true experience occurs twice, first in our minds and then in the real world.
2. Adversity offers valuable opportunities to grow
Being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa wasn’t good news for me or for my family. I know my mother would have given me her own eyes if that would have been a realistic solution for me.
However, 35 years later I am an extremely happy human being and my mother is an extremely proud parent.
My severe visual disability has taught me to never give up, to have courage, to look inside people and inside myself, to embrace what is possible rather than hide behind what isn’t and to focus on potential and abilities rather than on what is missing.
With useful emotional tools and an empowering attitude, adversity can definitely mean opportunity for personal growth.
3. Believing in oneself is the strongest antidote for other people’s lack of trust
One of the weakening sentences I’ve most heard in my life is “you won’t be able to do it, it’s not possible for you”. With several variations, it’s something I’ve had to deal with dozens of times.
This can definitely cause lack of self-esteem and a demolishing decision of not even trying, of giving up.
However, I’ve been lucky enough to try and try again several times, acting with determination and looking for the right way for me. The magical question here is probably “how can I?” instead of “can I?”.
This has proven to work for me and I concluded that the most powerful antidote for other people’s negative prejudice or limiting beliefs is strongly trusting oneself. Nobody can really limit our potential but ourselves. Don’t give anyone else the power of deciding for you, it’s your life.
4. Let courage guide you, not fear
The best decisions I’ve ever made and the most exciting and fulfilling experiences have been a result of acting according to courage and not deciding based on fear.
Fear is something inevitable so being brave does not mean not being afraid, it means to keep on going despite those fears, going for what you desire and conquering the thoughts that invite you to stay still or even run away.
When I decided to study Psychology, when I flew to Austin (USA) to spend a whole year as an exchange student when never before had I left my comfortable home in Mallorca (Spain), when I decided to write my first book or even start this blog, when I decided to kayak for several days under adverse weather conditions…each and every time I was afraid of failing or making the wrong decision…but each and every time I acted with courage and each and every time I ended up enjoying life more than ever before.
5. Focus on your potential abilities, not on your limitations
Okay, I need my blind cane to move around the streets and public transport, often full of all sorts of obstacles. Yes, I need assistive screen-reading software in order to use my computer or my smartphone, often full of web-pages or apps that are not fully accesible for me. Indeed, I have trouble when trying to read a magazine, when trying to find someone in an open area full of other people, when I want to take a picture or edit a video…I know, things are often harder for me…but I have always found a way, always.
Learning about other tools, figuring out my own little tricks, asking for some kind of help or team-work, trying and trying again and again…the fact is that I have experienced there is always some kind of solution for our problems. Maybe it is not inmediate, maybe it doesn’t work at first…but our potential abilities and solutions are always stronger than our limitations.
6. Alone we are like flowers, together we can create beautiful gardens
I suppose I like this metaphor as I absolutely love the beauty in nature. Flowers are unique, they have their own scent and they share their colours with the world in no comparable way.
We are too unique and extremely valuable, with our perfect imperfection. Once we feel this power and beauty in ourselves we can think about how to reach even further.
Gardens are to flowers what teams to individuals. I have experienced again and again that connecting with other valuable people, helping each other in whatever way, strongly improves our results and our well-being.
7. Be thankful and carefully taste every moment
A few years ago I started a simple routine before falling asleep. I ask myself about at least 5 things that took place that day for which I feel thankful (any small detail is worthy enough).
That attitude has brought nothing but joy, inner peace and positive energy. We often forget to feel great about soooo many things and people that make our day and our life something worth living.
Moments never come back, so I believe savoring carefully as many as possible is a wise thing to do.
What about joining me while I travel with my white cane all over the world?
Yes, that is my new dream turned into project. If you want to know more about my emotions, thoughts and adventures while travelling all over the world (and learning as much as possible from the experience), I recommend you follow my Instagram page as well as my YouTube Channel. I’d love to connect and hear from you!!
Thank you so much for reading the post! Much more to come!!! 🙂