The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

—Marcel Proust, “The Captive,” Remembrance of Things Past

Perceptions. Judgements. Stares. Whispered words.

In this season of Changes and Changing, in order to live happily and fully with a disability, you need to change your reaction to all of the above.

Rarely am I this directive to advise “you need to change,” but when we, as people living with disabilities and obvious differences, become less attached to what people think of us, we change and life gets fuller.

So how do we begin making this empowered transition into letting go of people’s perceptions of us? Well, with most hard things, we begin by acknowledging the struggle and asking what CHANGE can be made.

Here’s something that will help; a reflection on how perceptions are ultimately about the perceiver, rather than the perceived. It’s an excerpt from an entire chapter on Perceptions from Firewalk Embracing Different Abilities.

We all deal with them. We all try to control them. At various times,

we try desperately to change them. As seen in the previous chapter,

even at the innocent age of seven, I was working hard to alter the

perceptions the adults in my life had of me. In the end, trying to change

perceptions is all wasted energy, because these beliefs regarding who

we are belong to other people, not us.

To perceive is to gain recognition or develop an interpretation of something

through the senses, but not through the spirit, and certainly not through knowledge.

At times, perceptions can be stepping stones to knowledge. Knowledge

is based on familiarity, awareness, and an understanding of something.

A fine line, though…

always lies between what we believe could be true and really knowing in

our hearts what is the truth.

We encounter a struggle with perceptions when we forget this distinction

and invest our energies in trying to influence people’s false beliefs rather

than in remaining secure in our truth and redirecting it back to the world.

In this season of Changes and Changing, how can you change your reaction (internal or external) of what people think of your disability and redirect more of YOUR TRUTH into the world?

Check out the LIVE VIDEO I did on letting go of worrying about perceptions – and also see “someone” watching in the background. ;)

Feeling empowered by this and want to read more? Just a reminder that subscribers of the Radiant Living with Disability blog get 50% off Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities with coupon code radiant50.