Be Proud of Your Accomplishments as a Person With a Disability
Pride often gets mistaken as an ugly feeling, something you feel when you think you are above the rest. Therefore this feeling also tends to come with shame. Pride is often associated with being egotistical and gets tangled up with arrogance. However, there is a side to pride many people don’t think about much. I believe when one recognizes what they have achieved or how far they have come, it is their right to feel proud, and so they should! No one should take this away from them. Instead people should join them in celebrating their successes, accomplishments and willingness to try.
Many of us lack the confidence to stand strong and speak about the things we have done that have made us feel proud. We worry we will be labeled a show-off and be described as big-headed, even though we know this is not our aim. Can’t we just be proud with no strings attached?
Recently, I came across a quote (author unknown) that said, “We blame society, but we are society.” I cannot help but think of my active role in how the landscape of society is shaped. When bartering in my mind about whether or not to share my story and the wins I have had along the way, I worry how this could be perceived. Would I be thought of as “too big for her boots?” But by maintaining the belief that my achievement isn’t worthy of celebration, I am also perpetuating the idea that one should not be proud. I finally realized I could do the opposite of my default thinking and go on to feel empowered by these triumphs and speak of my achievements.
I find being proud of oneself a difficult gig. I can find it hard to say things I’m good at or proud of myself for achieving, although it has gotten better recently. I have cerebral palsy and one of the ups to this (which I think is relatable to the whole of humankind) is that I can continually strive to improve and set new personal bests.
As part of the way I am affected by CP, my right hand is a little more uncoordinated than my left. When I try to control the movements of my right hand, it becomes even more uncoordinated! Because of this, I generally use my left hand for everything. However my latest little mission has been to try to use my right hand more. I must admit this is difficult, yet when my right hand is successful at completing a task, like picking up a cup, it feels like a huge win and for me, it is! A few years ago, I would have said, “I only picked up a cup — what’s the big deal?” and perhaps felt a little embarrassed at my victory.
It shocks me to consider the amount of times I, like so many people, go around not recognizing the small steps I take and view them as meaningless. I wish I could tell my younger self and others to stop belittling our triumphs. No matter how big or small these victories are, they matter. It’s important that we take time to acknowledge our achievements, allow ourselves to feel proud and share this with others. In turn not only will we feel good about ourselves, but we could also inspire others to be proud of themselves. Let’s change society and end the shame about being proud!