Advice I believe is great for everyone, regardless of circumstances…
As someone who has the honor to work with children and adults with disabilities, I can safely say I have never found a more motivational set of individuals. In spite of sometimes substantial adversity, I watch them not only push their limitations, but sometimes also overcome them entirely. I believe it is absolutely crucial to focus on the positive – the unique talents, interests, and abilities of each individual – and to downplay the weaknesses.
Now, that’s not to say we can’t recognize areas that need improvement – whether for ourselves or another individual, we need to know what in our lives and development needs some TLC (or flat-out hard work!) However, making a point to emphasize our abilities is a surefire way to keep us in the most positive head space possible. When facing some of life’s challenges, a great attitude will make all the difference.
The other day at a volunteer session, a mother was inquiring about activities for her daughter, including Martial Arts – beyond autism, her child has been through surgeries to correct club foot and other impairments to the feet and lower extremities. The doctor was trying to steer her clear of many activities and yet…here was this young lady actually running around. I spoke to the mother, making clear I have no medical background (but a lifetime’s worth as an athlete), and explained that sports can be modified. So long as we have the proper instructor who is aware of our challenges, there is no reason that many more sports could be available to her than suggested.
For example, this young lady was able to participate in ballet to some degree. I watched her not only walk briskly in our gymnasium, but also run at times, further confirming that she has a great deal more ability that it appears she is (externally) being credit for. I encouraged the mother to look into specific Marital Art programs, and to not be discouraged by the “can’t do”s. As Stephen Hawking alludes to, to handicap ourselves mentally can be incredibly damaging – we needn’t add to our own, or another’s physical difficulties.
The truth of it is, we all have strengths, weaknesses, injuries and physical limitations. In the majority of cases, we all have some mental challenges as well – low self-esteem, insecurity, self-doubt to name a few. To focus on what IS possible, and what we ARE able to do can make a massive difference in the quality of our lives overall, as well as contribute to our success in our activities, careers, and relationships.
I will ever and always be in full support of “focusing on the positive.” It isn’t about being idealistic, but recognizing that what we focus on can literally alter the course of our lives – what we dwell on becomes our reality and all we see.
Focusing on our strengths not only helps us to weather the working-on-our-weaknesses better, but also the ups and downs of life. It gives us the strength and courage to carry forward, to makes strides in spite of anxiety or fear, and to find happiness, fulfillment and success in spite of tipped scales. The sky is the limit when we have the right attitude. Period.
This weekend we had a whole smattering of rain… After our healthy breakfast, we thought we might go visit a farm, just for some fun and sunshine. But, those water drops came down early, and our trip was out rather suddenly!
It’s been a long time since I visited the amazing sites around my old college campus (the White House WAS my neighbor!) so rather out of the blue, we chose to hit the road – sitting around makes me feel lethargic! (Active rest CAN include walking for a few hours, even if inside…)
We decided we’d visit one of the Smithsonian complexes on the mall (nevermind the St, Patrick’s Day parade we didn’t realize was going on simultaneously!) because really, what better place to explore when you can’t be outside?
I haven’t gone into a Natural History Museum in ages, and I have to say…it was an incredible joy. As a little girl, I wanted desperately to be an archeologist – the prospect of discovering some meaningful antiquity, coming face to face with a mummy, or finding precious rocks had me enamored.
Maybe it was the idea that I’d be close to Earth…and in finding such things, I would have “touched” history in a way – like time travel, albeit not temporally!
Anyway…it always amazes me to see the wonders of the Natural World, and it was a perfect activity for such a gloomy day. After the visit, my cloudy white cowboy boots (to jive with the grey skies) and all-black attire marched to a Hard Rock cafe for some fuel. Most people would say you can’t fin anything healthy in a restaurant like that but…I did! Admittedly, the first time it didn’t come out as I asked…but…we managed!
You can always ask for plain, grilled fish (I usually ask for this instead of chicken, which often is overly marinated already) and steamed vegetables. My plate came with mashed potatoes, but I just ignored them (had I known they came in tow, I would have requested they save the food!) It was exactly what I needed after a lengthy afternoon – protein works wonders to stabilize you, and keep you full longer. I always as for veggies too because I need volume.
All in all, it was a wonderful day – I enjoyed being out and about, and doing something new and different. I know many folks go to Museums for their children, but it is equally as enriching as an adult…plus, even when it’s pouring, you get to walk round and stay active. Win, win, win! 🙂