The Learning Curve – A Life Without Barriers

There are quite a few challenges I face in my daily life, some of which are more difficult than others. These challenges test my will to be positive because to manage them effectively I must rely on the kindness of strangers.

When I go out in my wheelchair, I need to be aware that the store I’m going to has wide aisles, making it easier to get around. But sometimes a store that has wide aisles will also have high shelves, and when that happens, I need to ask an employee to hand me a product I can’t reach.

Most of the time, I don’t mind asking others for help. I always say thank you with a smile and have a very positive attitude, but there used to be days when keeping this attitude was hard work. I didn’t want to ask for help. I’d do it, but I wouldn’t appreciate any help given because I felt angry and bitter about my life on wheels. I’d want to be left alone so I could wallow in self-pity for a while.

Fortunately, I found keeping a journal for several years helped me let go of these emotions. This hobby also helped me accept my life on wheels, and I rarely have these hard days now.

I appreciate help even when someone offers it without me having to ask. To me, this is the best type of assistance because I feel it doesn’t draw attention to my physical limitations. Sometimes, those limitations act as barriers; their obviousness makes others uncomfortable. When people feel this discomfort, my wheelchair is all they can see and That’s the reason I always have a positive attitude when I ask them to assist me.

Asking for help from others all depends on your tone of voice and on the words you choose. For example, the phrase ?Would you mind helping me?? lets a person know you’ll appreciate their help and implies you are in a good mood, whereas the phrase ?Can you help me now!? conveys the opposite (especially if you don’t thank them).

This brings to mind the memory of a childhood acquaintance: she had a physical disability but the difference between us was that she never appreciated any help. ?Why are you so bitter?? I inquired, feeling curious about the reasons(s) she never thanked the people who helped her daily. Her answer to my question was silence. In that moment I realized something: if you have a physical disability and You’re often bitter and angry about it without knowing why, then these emotions can be just as significant as the one you already have. In my mind, this person now had ?two disabilities for the price of one and That’s no bargain!? For readers who take this quote seriously, don’t. I’m just kidding.

Today, I realize that a positive attitude will always get noticed. If I ask someone for help and say thank you to let them know I appreciate it, they don’t care how I choose my words. Instead, It’s my tone of voice that comes across. The fact that they might see my limitations as obstacles won’t matter because, in that moment, I live a life without barriers.

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