Don’t give a hoot.

A hoot? Let’s say I’m just trying to use family-friendly language here…

When talking about living fully with disability, meaning going out in life, taking risks, and pursuing your dreams, it really is crucial to respectfully not care what people think of you.

Us humans think whatever we want to about one another, don’t we? We can’t very well control that one, can we? So why do we invest so much effort in trying to do so? I believe that’s also our  nature to try to change people’s judgments of us. We tend to think,

Oh, I show you I’m not who you think I am. I’ll prove you wrong. I’ll show you how capable I am.

Tell me, how often does that really work?

In this season of talking about Changes and Changing, how can you change how you are affected by what others think of you?

You put so much effort into trying to change people’s perceptions of your disability when in reality, people are going to think whatever they darn well please. In the meantime, you wasted precious mental energy that could have better used for just being yourself. Then, if you’re like me, you get angry with yourself.

It took me a long time to realize that just being myself was the most effective way to change people’s judgments about me due to my disability.

In order to focus on being myself, I had to not care if someone thought I wasn’t as intelligent as I am because of my affected speech. I had to not be bothered by the fact that people pitied me. I also had to become oblivious to the continuous stares out in public.

It’s a process of always turning your attention to yourself and what YOU believe about yourself, rather than what others think to be true about you.

Now, because I believe the world is always in need of more kindness, I encourage you to respectfully not care what people think. This means you don’t have to say in some version, “Hey, I don’t really care what you think. You’re wrong.” It sometimes means you smile, acknowledge (either silently or verbally) they have a right to their opinion, and LET IT GO! I know this last part is easier said than done, but remind yourself that only YOU CAN DEFINE YOU. This will immediately lessen the power of the judgments of others.

Don’t allow it to take up real estate in your head. You have way better things to focus on. This takes practice, but as you do it more and more, you’ll eventually find that you care less and less of what people think of you because you’re too busy drawing out all your strengths.

Need some help on learning not give a hoot? Check out this free mini-course and guide on Defining Yourself: Why It’s So Important When You Live With Disability.

I’ll be live on Facebook tonight at 8pm (EST) to talk about this and have it be an interactive discussion. Tune in, share your thoughts, or message me on Facebook ahead of time.