I’ll let you in on a bit of a secret. I haven’t always been confident seeing myself in the mirror!
Keep reading for two tips on becoming more confident in your disabilities.
Living with cerebral palsy has sometimes been challenging. Still, I’ve worked so hard on letting the rigid walls that I have tended to surround myself with fall down from around me (Almost all of them anyway). Accepting yourself as disabled can take time, as I have recently written about in one of my MetroOpinion articles. However and whenever you do come to accept yourself, in my experience, you will find it within yourself to let the good things and fun times in your life become even more important to you. Whenever you may experience difficult times, the good stuff and the fun memories you make will make you become a stronger person than ever and drive you on in a more purposeful mindset.
The past few years have been tough for everyone. But, I now know more than ever that it’s ‘OK’ to be different and that anyone has the right to follow their dreams. That’s why I wrote my first children’s book ‘Max And The Magic Wish,’ which is all about disability and acceptance.
Here is the Amazon link:- https://amzn.to/3qJthSI.
Since we came out of the last lockdown, my life has been busy doing book signings, songwriting collaborations, finally going on postponed trips away, and I even have a friend’s wedding coming up in May. It’s all go!
Ever since becoming an author and talking about how I came to write Max And The Magic Wish and then working to the stage where it’s now been published with Clare Thomas (PublishWithClare), my book collaborator and publisher. I realise that I can most certainly make a difference. Showing others wholeheartedly that discovering the inner belief that has likely always been inside can be the catalyst to accepting yourself and letting yourself accept others. As a result, I have become more confident as a person from within, and I have accepted myself as a disabled person more and more. Doing this has allowed me to find a new level of self-confidence and become more determined to never give up on what I love, writing and enjoying life as often as I can with my family and friends.
Becoming more aware of my physical limitations and knowing my body’s limits are paramount to keeping myself safe, healthy, and happy. I want to be able to continue to do the things I enjoy most in life for a long time to come yet. The most important thing is always to be yourself. Growing up and earlier in life, I would never have the confidence to appear on camera and talk openly in any particular way about my disabilities. The furthest I would go is by way of writing my personal experiences down and having them published in the form of articles.
For example, in the past, when out shopping or maybe in a nightclub, I would get so embarrassed seeing myself and noticing how I looked when I walked past a full-length mirror. I would think, ‘If I cringe at seeing myself back in every mirror I walk past and hate how I walk. What must others be thinking?’ But now, with this experience and with conquering my fears of not being mirror and camera-shy, I know that there was no need to think that way because we are all different and unique, and as long as you are happy within your skin, that’s all that matters, and if people are not willing to accept you for who you are, that’s not your fault.
Nowadays, I am happier seeing myself in a mirror, and I have even become confident enough to go on camera, whether it’s for a disability news film or documentary, or even on social media. You can’t keep me away from the camera these days. I even create disability content videos on TikTok.
Two tips on how to become confident in your own body:-
1. When you see yourself staring back in the opposite mirror, try not to focus too much on the parts you primarily disliked about your body. For example, I hated looking at my legs in the mirror. Therefore, I then tried to concentrate on aspects of my body that my parents or people who know me best said are attractive, like my blue eyes. I always looked straight down at my legs for a long while, becoming even more anxious about their appearance. But by looking myself straight in the eyes consciously straight away, I instantly remembered what my parents said, meaning that positive thoughts were the first thing that entered my head. These positive thoughts seem to continue to happen as I would eventually look at the other parts of my body. Every time I look at my legs in the mirror now, I realise that they are just another beautiful part of who I am, even though they are different from most peoples’ legs.
2. Remember that with every video, film, documentary, or social media content you make and post about your disabilities. You are always making a difference and inspiring and showing others that being disabled doesn’t mean that you cannot live to the best of your abilities. Ok, you may need to do certain things and chores differently from others, but that’s ok. So, let me tell you another secret: one of my worst fears was getting trolled and hate comments on social media for a long time. But I know now that, in all honestly, there was no need to be scared of any trolls and not let them stop you from inspiring and educating other people about different kinds of disabilities. By telling your story, you are helping society to become more educated, open and inclusive, especially talking about disabilities in general. After all, what’s there to be scared about? There’s always a report and block button on these social media platforms to take care of unwanted trolling, to a certain extent anyway.
So to conclude, if you are at a point where you dislike looking yourself in the mirror or being on camera because of your disabilities and how you look, it’s perfectly normal not to ever be totally in love with what you see. Nobody is perfect, and I fully understand the fear of seeing your disabled body staring right back at you. I’ve experienced it. But you know how the saying goes. ‘Your biggest fear carries your largest growth,’ and your happiness is the most important. There’s no rush. It took me some time. Even if it is day by day, or just a few times a month, you’ll become much more confident by looking yourself in the eye at first sight of a mirror every time. I have, and I hope you can do the same someday—just #alwaysbeyou.