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How I Turned My “Disability” into “Loving Defiance” in Three Steps

Only you can determine who you are and what you are made of.

In late 2015, I began my journey of self-discovery.

I started reading social media posts and watching online videos. I was on a quest for any information I could find to get unstuck from this definition of “disability” and find my way to the life that I so desperately wanted.

I was born with a developmental disability.

When you are born with a disability or a chronic illness, it is always with you. From childhood to adulthood. You are conditioned to believe that it is just a part of you that you cannot change. You have to learn to live with it.

However, on my quest, I started to see a common theme.

It shook me. I was left standing at an unexpected fork in the road. The idea was consistent. Along the lines of “your life starts now” and “you are enough.” Are you serious?

Now for someone like myself who has a permanent disability, this opened an energy drink jumbo size can of questions for me. The most obvious being, “I’ve lived with this disability my whole life! How can I alone be enough? And, how the hell am I just supposed to ‘start’ now?”

So, as you can imagine, it took me a while to open my mind.

What to do with the stories and the thoughts keeping me stuck? Moreover, starting today what would define the rest of my life? After digging deeper and doing more soul searching, I decided that I was done staying in the tiny box society built for me. I was done!

“The breakout” happens when you take these 3 steps: 

1. You Do You

People will never stop trying to define or label you. So what. Go out and do things that make you feel good. No, you can’t control what people think of you, but you can control how you live life and love your life.

2. Love Yourself 100 Percent

Know your flaws and challenges and call them out! You are taking ownership of those things, which in turn, takes away anyone else’s power to use them against you. Love your flaws. Everyone has them!

3. Self-care

Self-care is very important and helpful on the road of self-discovery and defiance. Self-care is like your charging station or your safe space to go when things are NOT going well. Activities like a walk outside, yoga or light exercise every day help you clear away that so-called “stinking thinking”. It is healing and gets and gets you back on track and going in the right direction.

Remember, labels are for clothes and not for you.

Only you can determine who you are and what you are made of. Your past is a part of you. But, your past cannot define or determine your future. Only you can do that! Believe that — let that define you! Society’s labels won’t stand a chance.

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Nicholas J Cobos

Nick Cobos is a thought leader and writer at McGill Media. He loves to share his words and songs of encouragement with all the dreamers and doers of the world. He published his biography "Dreamer's Don't Quit" in 2003.

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