SPEAKing Up:Something to Remember

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most…” Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles

The sentiment of the above quote is beautiful, and I hope that every person has at least one experience that leads them to believe that it is true. However, if someone were to tell me that they had never feared their own inadequacies I would have a difficult time believing them.

Inadequacy is a perfectly relevant fear, and in my opinion, is particularly pertinent to the disabled community. The judgments of others can sometimes make people feel inadequate. Stereotypes, hurtful comments, and differential treatment can make anyone feel as if they are not worthy of being part of certain groups or communities. They make us feel as if our opinions, thoughts, and personalities are somehow less important. This is where I think some of the stereotype of disabled people being shy and conservative comes from. It is easy to dismiss someone’s ideas if you have already categorized the person as being weak, shy, or incapable.

Sometimes feelings of inadequacy and fear can even be self-inflicted. Many people have been in situations the limitations of a disability might seem insurmountable.

However there are a couple of pieces of information that I think any disabled person should remember when faced with feelings of inadequacy. First of all, people with disabilities are the largest minority group. This means that none of us are the first, or the last to face our challenges, and many before us have overcome them. Also, the disabled community represents the only minority that any person can become part of at any time. While most of us would never wish a disability on anyone it just shows that the line between so-called normalcy and being “different” is a very fine one. Therefore, those of us with disabilities have all the same rights as any other person, including the right to be as unique, loud, crazy, and daring as we wish


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