LOOKS DO MATTER: Succeeding Despite the Challenges of Disabilities, Deformities, and Disfigurement
As much as we may try to deny it, looks do matter. From the clothes we wear to the shape of our faces, people will always judge us based on our physical appearance. But what about those who are born with disabilities, deformities, and disfigurements? How do they navigate a world that is so focused on looks?
As someone who was born with esthsioneroblastoma, a rare and deadly tumor that forms in the nasal cavity, I know all too well the challenges that come with looking different. The disfigurement left on my face has often made me feel like an outcast, and I have experienced my fair share of discrimination and prejudice.
But I refuse to let my appearance define me. I am living proof that we are all capable of creating our own definition of success, regardless of our looks or circumstances. There is literally nothing I've wanted or wanted to do in life that I was unable to obtain or experience. From running for public office and hanging out with celebrities to creating meaningful relationships and marrying the love of my life, I've done it all to the fullest and wouldn't trade those moments for anything in the world. However, to do these things, it took confidence and a belief in myself that I had to develop. Though it can be a tough process, I truly believe that anyone can overcome how the world sees them to create a rewarding life full of joy and success. That being said, here are a few tips on how to overcome the added challenges and discrimination that come with disabilities, deformities, and disfigurements.
The first step to overcoming any challenge is accepting who you are. It's okay to feel different and to struggle with insecurities, but it's important to embrace your unique qualities and learn to love yourself. Once you accept yourself, others will be more likely to accept you as well. Whoever can't can deal with that themselves.
Many people may not know how to interact with someone who looks different, and they may unintentionally say or do things that are hurtful. Take the time to educate others about your condition or disability, and explain how it affects you. This can help break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment.
It can be helpful to connect with others who have similar experiences. Seek out support groups or online communities where you can share your feelings and find encouragement. Having a support system can help you feel less alone and provide valuable resources for coping with challenges.
Focus on your strengths
Instead of focusing on what you can't do, focus on what you can do. Everyone has strengths and talents, and it's important to recognize and develop them. This can help boost your self-confidence and open up new opportunities for success. Remember, confidence is key.
Advocate for yourself
Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and advocate for your needs. Whether it's asking for accommodations at work or standing up against discrimination, you have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. By speaking out, you can help create positive change and empower others to do the same.
In addition, it's important to always remember that everyone is going through something, even if what they're going through can't be as easily seen. Many people face internal struggles with mental health, self-esteem, and body image, which can also affect how they interact with the world and how the world interacts with them.
Like I said, looks do matter, but they don't have to define us. We all have the power to create our own definition of success, regardless of our appearances. By accepting and loving ourselves, educating others, seeking support, focusing on our strengths, and advocating for ourselves, we can overcome the added challenges and discrimination that come with being different. So, embrace your uniqueness whatever that may be, and show the world what you are truly capable of.