Please tell me what I am hearing is not true
Since I started working on the BlindAlive project early this year, the comments I have received from sighted and blind alike have been overwhelmingly positive. From the instant the idea to create well described exercise workouts came into my head, I have been flooded by support from all directions. At times, it feels like magic. All this support helps me to keep going in spite of many challenges.
One thread of remarks keeps bubbling up which causes me to feel angry, sad, confused, and afraid. I am hearing things like, “Blind people only want government handouts. They aren’t interested in helping themselves.” Another remark I hear is, “Blind people want everything for free. They won’t pay for an exercise program.” Another is, “Blind people don’t care about their health. They just want to sit on the couch all day and do nothing.” These remarks are real. I am not making them up and they are coming from people who are blind. I suppose I might be naive and my head might be in the sand but I just don’t believe this is true. I refuse to believe that this is true.
At times, I know for a fact that being blind is a real bitch. I can cry, curse, and be overcome with depression and even despair. I know what it feels like to be excluded from games, parties, gatherings of all kinds because I can’t see. I know what it feels like not to be invited places because my friends are doing something that is so visual that it makes no sense for me to go with them. I know how it feels to stand in the middle of a room at a party with nobody to talk to and I am disoriented so there is nothing to do but stand there and act like I am relaxed and having a great time. I know exactly how it feels to slam into doors and have bruises on my face from open doors and low tree branches. This list could go on and on. I know many of you know what I am talking about. Being blind takes courage and determination to put one foot in front of the other. It is hard work.
There is no doubt that being blind has huge challenges but we do have control over how we choose to think about our circumstances. We can choose to train ourselves to think our way into being more confident, more content, and more healthy. It is not our lot in life to be poor, angry, depressed, and viewed as lazy and even ignorant. This is not who we are! We must not believe that this is true about ourselves! We can help ourselves and we can change how we are viewed by the world if we change our thinking.
You ask,”How do I change my thinking?”
The first step to changing your thinking is to become aware that you are having negative thoughts. Negative thinking is a habit and it can be broken by paying attention to your thoughts. Once you realize that you are saying, “I can’t learn to read braille or I can’t walk alone or I can’t afford organic food, then you can be aware and change the thought. You begin to say, “I can learn braille if I choose to,” or “I am going to learn how to walk alone.” The words we use are powerful and using the most powerful words will make us feel more powerful. We change our thoughts by changing our words even though it may feel uncomfortable to speak them.
I choose to use this formula every day and I know it works! Pay attention to your thoughts. Catch yourself in the act of negative thinking. Choose powerful words like “I choose to” and replace the victim words like “I can’t.” Say the new thoughts out loud. Your life will begin to change with your thoughts and your words. We as blind people can gain more respect because we choose to respect ourselves. We can choose to take responsibility for our thoughts and our words. We are in control. When we stop thinking of ourselves as “poor, unhealthy, tired, or depressed…” we can take small manageable steps in the direction we want to go. We can prove to the world that we are powerful, intelligent, and able to do most anything we choose, but it is our responsibility to choose it.