Overcoming Insecurities as a Person With a Disability

Many times people will tell me that I am always easy-going, filled with smiles, laughter, and many other positive aspects. People generally think that these things come easily to me, but the truth is, it’s not always easy to be that person all the time. The reason people say these things to me is because they look beyond the fact that I am deaf. Whenever I meet a person like that, I feel that my deafness is just a part of me rather than a definition of me, which makes me feel good. Unfortunately, growing up, I have been insecure about myself due to being around people that saw my deafness rather than myself for who I am as a person.

It wasn’t easy being the only student in the classroom who had cochlear implants in their ears while others didn’t. Interacting with other students would be exhausting because I would have to lip-read a lot while trying to understand what they were saying. This was the case in group conversations in the cafeteria where it would be noisy. Words would be exchanged at lighting speed that I could only catch one or two words, leaving me completely confused. I would try to ask them what they were talking about but most of the time it would be “I will tell you later” or “It’s not important.” Those words usually made me feel left out. It reminded me that I was different because I couldn’t understand what they were saying like they were able to. Slowly, I started to become insecure about myself due to being deaf, but as I grew up, I learned some lessons about overcoming my insecurities about deafness.

Insecurities are not easy to overcome, as they are something that can bring a person’s self-confidence down. There are endless causes of why people are insecure, but there is always a way to overcome it. It can be harder to overcome being insecure when your disability makes you feel that way. Those group conversations have made me feel that way because I couldn’t contribute to what my friends were saying or understand the direction that the conversation was going in. Group conversations are one of my weaknesses, but I do have a strength that helps me many times. I am able to communicate better in one-on-one conversations, as it’s easier for me to be able to read the person’s lips along while giving my full attention to that person.

Everyone has weaknesses, but they also have strengths. Even people with disabilities have strengths that they can use to their advantage. One thing that surprises many people is how good of a listener I am, despite being deaf. That is one of the strengths that I take pride in because I have learned how to pay attention to others while learning to process what they are saying. Sometimes, I may mix up words because they sound so similar but I am quick to realize my mistake. Whatever strength you have, use it to leverage your experience. It may help you progress towards something better that may be small or big. What matters is how it will make you happier.

I have complained before about not being as good as my peers due my deafness while growing up. Over the years, I’ve learned that complaining is not going to get me anywhere; I will only stay stuck. It gets exhausting and tiring, which can make it hard to overcome that insecurity. One of the hard lessons is that I can’t control everything to make it what I want. The universe has its own plans. What I can control is my attitude towards myself as a person. Sometimes I may mishear something or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, which leads me to become embarrassed. Instead of sticking to that one mistake, I just need to take a good laugh and shake it off. Sometimes things don’t always go your way, but you can do something to change the outcome. People with a disability may have a harder time believing that, and I totally understand that. They may question why are they different from everyone or why does their body function differently from others. That’s a question that will always be on my mind, but one that I try to not to let it creep up to me. If I keep asking that question, it gets harder for me to come out of that place of doubt and uncertainty.

In life there will always be two types of people that could play a role on your outlook on life. One type is the person who is always encouraging you and is there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on. The other type is someone who always puts you down, always making you feel inferior, or someone who has a negative effect on you. I have been surrounded by both types in my life as I grew up and they shaped my life.

I have met many great people in my life and formed many good relationships. They have always been there for me, as they would be my cheerleaders as I went through challenges in my life. Not only have they cheered me up, but they have also pushed me to be better and always reminded me that I am a good person despite being different.

There have also been people that brought me down, which happened a lot in school. There would be people that would stare at me, say mean things behind my back or make faces of disgust at me. Unfortunately, those kind of people got to me first, which lowered my self-confidence significantly. It became hard for me to connect with others because I was constantly paranoid about what they might be thinking. I would assume that they might be thinking  “What is that around her ears?” or “Is she dumb?” or “She looks weird.” Slowly, I am trying to get that paranoia out of my head, but sometimes they still bring me down. People with disabilities may get those kind of questions in their head when they meet new people. These kind of people may have brought me down but my support system was there to bring myself back up. I was able to ignore the haters while pushing myself to be better than them, which left me saying bye to the haters.

Everyone has insecurities they will overcome, but it can be harder when their disability is what makes them insecure. I know that feeling very well, but I have learned (still learning) to not let my deafness define who I am but a part of me. One thing I have to keep reminding myself, which is sometimes cliché but very true: nobody is perfect. Everyone has their own flaws, but how they respond to them is what matters. That means either they work on making themselves into a better person or become one of those people that put others down. For me, I have been working on making myself understand that I am accomplishing many things. I am in college, I am going to a great school, I have a family that loves me and many friends that support me. I am still telling myself everyday that I am more than my disability. I am staying on the positive side while trying to keep the negative away from me. That works most of the time, but sometimes I find myself having bad days. Bad days happen to everyone, but how you move on from it is what matters. Sometimes it may be a one-day thing, but other times it can take longer to jump back to where I was. The insecurity that I have is still there, but right now it’s a small speck of dust that is floating in my brain. My brain has a lot of other great things going on such as creativity, my book smarts, my new street smarts, and many other things that push my insecurity to the curb. Insecurity is not an easy thing to overcome when you have a disability, but having the right mindset can help kick insecurity off to the side.

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