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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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Jo Davis
Member

I just love this @nickcobos! So inspired! This story speaks to my heart & I am certain that it will speak to the thousands who will read it! So happy to call you my dear friend! ❤❤❤❤

Kara
Member

I agree Very Inspiring indeed.❤️

KayeAPeters
Member

Hi Nick! Great to see just how well you are obviously doing. I just recently saw you and Jess got together and also Jamie O. I’m sure glad I had the opportunity to meet you when you were here in Arizona for the CYL event. Now you have your own Celebrate Your Life Event every single day. No question, you’ve started
‘singin’ in the rain’! Great, Great Article, Nick. Love, Kaye.

Kara
Member

Kaye ❤️

Applepea
Member

I’ve been so long inside the box. I was so much deeply hurt. Everyone is trying to control my life. Everyrhing I do it doesnt count fr so many others. I was pretending that I am ok at the end thru emotional stress, fatigue, depression I became sick. My health is affected. I lost the relationship with my family, my goal, courage, determination. Its esting me inside no one to trust no one to confide till I found Jesus in my life and it begun to change my life. Its not easy in the beginning but I believe I will come up even better and stronger. God is my strength when I am weak. He is the treasure that I seek. He is my everything. Gods love endures forever. Thank you so much fr this article. It opens my eyes how to live my life without others validation.as long as I don’t hurt anyone I will do my best to live my life that God wants me to be.Thank you fr all the inspiring articles and I share to others as wel. God Bless you all. God Bless us all😊

Kara
Member

I’m with you God heals us and restores our hearts ! God keeps me Centered and Grounded the pains I carried so deep spiritual interventions through Christ brought me through…Man Can’t do what God Can.
God can be counted on he won’t leave ior forsake us
It’s true honest Pure Love.
AMEN 🙏🏽 ❤️

Uchenna Ilo
Member

Thanks for sharing this powerful message. Your life has inspired me.

Lawney
Member

Thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring words Nick. Great article.

Mary Davis
Member

Wonderful article! Thank you Nicholas!

Sherryramlogan9
Guest
Sherryramlogan9

Morning everyone especially Mr Cobos…hope that you’re doing good… thank you for this great article…and we must use our talents which god bless us all with, we are here for different reasons and purposes in this life…I used to think about what people will say and putting down myself, but then I wake up and I said god…you bring me here for a certain time and I must do what’s right for me and nobody else…living for you is the greatess achievement…

Janice Wayne
Member

Nick you hit this one out of the park! I must say I love your phrase stinking thinking… you’re helping others break free from labels and a eternity of hurt. Thank you and keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next article!! Love your friend Janice

Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member

Nick … this is awesome! Thanks for being such an inspiration. Love 💕 my royal bro

Mayuri Rana
Member

You are truly inspiring and I loved this wonderful article..It completely resonated with the world today and how important it is to stand in our own light and not fall victim to the box created by the people around us.. Thank you so much for sharing..Much Love <3

Candy Rogers
Guest
Candy Rogers

Thanks for the inspiration its worth learning from .

Jackie Dorman
Member

Yes!!! “Labels are for clothes and not for you!” Such an inspirational article Nick! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your empowering journey with us all! Love you!

LauraEKeefe
Member

Oh completely amazing article 😉 from a completely amazing guy @nickcobos 💖😊💖😊

LynnDailey
Member

This is a beautiful testimony Nick! I love how you turned your “disability” into a fierce and loving defiance. You are right that society’s labels don’t stand a chance when you burn the societal box, break free and live in your truth! You are such an inspiration!

Ginadevera
Guest
Ginadevera

I agree for all what you’ve said,you can control how you live life and love your life.It’s up to you how you gonna handle it.Just try your best and God will do the rest.

Robina fazal
Member

Hi..Royal Bro.💖👑💐Thanks!for Sharing a nice Article.. Yeah any diability and weakness can let you down in life or you..can lead your life with passion and courage if you utilize your inner instincts..energy and positive thoughts to lead a healthy and productive life in spite of the fact that you have to live your whole life with the disability..disease or illness…💖👑

PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU
Guest
PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU

VERY NICE THANK YOU

Suzan Muhialdeen
Guest
Suzan Muhialdeen

Very inspiring and great article .
I noticed that sometimes the mindset and the way of thinking could cause disability and prevent the person from getting any kind of progress or getting development in his life, because the negative thoughts which is more worst , but with good believe, confidence, hope, … will turn any disability to strong ability. 🧗‍♂️🤸‍♀️🤹‍♀️⛹️‍♂️

Kara
Member

Beautifully written I absolutely felt this to heart oh how I dislike labels they sure don’t get to define who anyone is we’re all unique
No one is perfect I agree so much of what you wrote I was told I couldn’t do many things but I do I forgot how far I’ve come I was born with a Retina Condition And this kept me in the Adoption system longer I was told but I really hadn’t thought much of it just what a pain it was but I went on with life I was supposed to loose all Vision so by now so it scared many adopters away who wanted perfect children.
I know I was probably more bothered by the fact I needed to be perfect to be loved I tried but failed terribly because there isn’t such a thing my friends loved me the way I was think
Glasses I had to wear they didn’t care I love those ladies till this day.
As we all turned the 40 together and were still connected and in touch thanks to Facebook.❤️
I just wanted to mention I felt nothing to wrong with who I was not all the kids were kind I would occasionally be asked if I could see the future stuff like that but still just kept going forward.
My Adoptive mom eventually let me know looks are important I needed contacts so I got the speclized Contacts I still struggled but it’s very true we don’t as people have to believe whet were taught I struggled with Eating disorders and more growing up trying to be better I thought but nothing was wrong with me until I started to believe I wasn’t as good.
I felt more awkward I didn’t even match my family I was Black they were White that didn’t bother me either till later when other people began really making a big deal somewhere my confidence got lost and distorted.
I till this day won’t let anyone tell me who I can’t be or what I can’t do I find a way it’s more challenging because yes I’ve aged eyes do the Changes aren’t positive I will have to learn and do many things different then I’m accustomed to but that’s ok.
I never thought it was strange I just did my best with what I had and if I’m two inches from a screen well ok.
It will be easier allowing people to help me get some education I didn’t have but I’m ok I am who I am I’m so glad to get to choose though how I will receive what others say I may not be good enough for Some but I’m good enough for my Closest loved ones and even especially God!❤️
I’m working hard at unlearning I need this or that or to be thinner or look perfect if people who judge their huge loss.
I’m Amazingly Me just getting better at it .🙏🏽🙏🏽❤️❤️❤️
Appreciate your Story of realness from your heart.
You helped me remember I’m not the lable someone put on my life from the beginning.
The unwanted Baby all that painful stuff.
I don’t care if I’m accepted anymore.
I just want to live Being happy and free from Imprisonment of the lies of who someone else says I am or should live up to.
I have a lot of Good and Stuff that I could let crush me.
Not Today AMEN🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
God Don’t make Junk that’s a true Story !😉

Sorry such a long response this article touched my heart!

Thank you again

JuliaPathfinder
Member

Great article and advice. Thank you Nick.
“Labels are for clothes not for you” love it!

Angeliki Anastasia
Member

Sir Nicholas you are a Superhero of the miracle of life!! I congratulate you Sir for your great courage and for discovering the true meaning of our earthy existence!! I was also diagnosed 3 months ago, with very severe hypothyroid! I was given a second chance in life!! Now Sir, I see life in a completely different way!! I appreciate every single detail of our earthy Paradise and I want to breath in and feel the amazing love Mother Nature offers us in such a passionate way!! This hypothyroid gave my heart greater wings to love and appreciate more, every second of my soooo precious life!! Thank you sooo much Sir for this truly heroic and very uplifting article!!!🏆🏆🙏🙏❣️💕♥️🌙⭐️🌜☀️🌼🌻💐

Arayeh
Member

WOW! LOVE LOVE LOVE this, Nick! “Love your flaws. Everyone has them!” Beautiful <3 Wrapping you in love <3

Christy
Guest
Christy

Thank you Nick! This was one of the most inspirational things I have ever read, it really spoke to me.

Jo Franklin
Member

Nick!!!! Very strong and heartfelt points. Being more conscious of these is SO important. Thank you for sharing and giving perspective. Much love to you.

Vasudevan Bhattathir
Member

this is an inspiring article we have to explore the possibilities always there is a solution in all circumstances and the answer will come within you
very good article . thank you

Catherine
Guest
Catherine

Absolute lovely story , very inspiratonal.

Sheila
Guest
Sheila

Thank you Guys for these decisions)I will try & impact my lifestyle…😇

Mary Louise
Member

Thank you for sharing your story Nick. I have children with disabilities. I also have worked in special ed.for the last six years. I have seen the seen that it is important to believe in oneself and it is also important to have others who believe in us too. I like how you say we shouldn’t allow others to define us when we know our own potential inside of us.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

I’m inspired by ur thoughts and determination to pursue ur dreams
M ins team of the challenges you face. L ur itself no matter what or who u are

Jehochebed Gallo
Guest
Jehochebed Gallo

You inspired me. Thank you so much. God bless you more

Marieta
Guest
Marieta

Beautifully said…good for you Nick. God bless you and keep on going…

NenitaBorromeo
Member

I want to be happy, i simply love me! You know better your own self than others. Be confident,be courageous,and joy will be yours endlessly!

Monique
Guest
Monique

I fell when I was 2 and had a disability learning , it was hard for me growing up . I had to re learn a a lot over the years , your story was inspiring to me , thank you . I wish you the best I your life . I beleave in God and I know he’s there for all of us .

Julie Roach
Member

@nickcobos ! Loved opening the McGill Media email this morning and seeing this as the featured article! Your contagious smile and resonating confirmation that “Dreamers Don’t Quit” jump started my morning. Appreciate you #FreedomFighter.

Becky
Member

Wow what coincidence I did a QUOTE today that resonates with this thanks Nick this has really inspired me to keep it going, Nick

Bonnie
Member

Excellent article

Ginadevera
Guest
Ginadevera

I was inspired for all what you’ve said.,and you remind me those things that sometimes I need to do.Thank you so much for your inspiring story.God bless.❤💙💜💛

Bonnie
Guest
Bonnie

An amazingly beautiful arrival that I feel touched a part of each of us in a different way. I absolutely agree with these three steps and just loved hearing the last point on self care, such an important thing for each of us to do as we move forward into the best version of ourselves. Thanks Nick!! You rock!!

Ghidaa
Guest
Ghidaa

Thanks a lot

Fran Merkh
Member

I’ve been recently disabled by grief and knowing further grief is on its way. My son is dieing of cancer and the immense fear that brings has swallowed me. To be labeled as depressed by myself has led me to forego the facts and live in adventure, to feel alive again. I’m living out a bloody wound. You’re right with these 3 steps. I do my routines, I take care of self needs but there’s procrastination, and I need help in loving myself 100 percent. Society and family has labeled me as less than or unworthy. I have great worth and defie that label inward and outwardly while at the time, I do feel less than. That’s my label, less than, everyone is more important than I. I have a subservient disposition. Maybe I can allow this wound to teach me I’m not less than and live boldly to defer to others out of love and not out of subservience. Thank you so much for helping me.

Pauline
Guest
Pauline

Why when i trust God do i still worry.

Pauline
Guest
Pauline

Why when i trust god do i still worry

Fran Merkh
Member

I accept my flaws to a fault. I am wonderfully flawed, love by a gracious Savior, who is perfectly weaving His Purpose through us His flawed children.

Dorothy Garland
Guest
Dorothy Garland

Hi very powerful God bless you in Jesus name amen xoxo

AlisaDiallo
Member

I thought this was a great article. It is a way of healing and self care towards positivity and strength within. It is tolerating our differences that make us unique in a society that expects everyone to be the same but making the realization that eventhough we are different we still feel love anger sadness and hate when we are trying to be happy just the way we are for who we are.