Through my process and in my experience I have discovered an undeniable truth. There is tremendous power in identification.
Although living with brain injuries, invisible disabilities, other disabilities — or adversity in general — can leave you and I feeling alone and isolated, the good news is that we no longer have to remain alone or isolated. We can reach out to one another.
Identification gives me the courage to come out of the shadows of isolation.
Identification helps me to find a freedom from feelings of alienation.
Identifying with others gives me the ability to listen to and hear the message, instead of judging the messenger.
Identifying with other people gives me the freedom to stop judging myself. Identifying with other people gives me the ability to benefit from their experience, strength and hope. Identifying with other people teaches me that I can trust the process, a loving God and myself.
Identifying with other people gives me the ability to experience a freedom that I never knew existed.
The Power of Identification
written April 18, 2007
Welcome back and I am so glad you decided to stop by and rest. You are a gift to me. I am fired up about a particular topic today. I have been fired up about this topic for most of my life. As a person with a disability, I never quite felt like I was enough or that I measured up. I never quite understood why I did not measure up until I began to understand the insidious nature of comparison. For too long, I measured my worth by the status quo. I allowed the measuring stick of other people to dictate how and what I thought about myself.
When I started treating myself with dignity and respect, I began having spiritual awakenings. One of these awakenings revealed that having a disability challenged the status quo. Although I sought to measure up to expectations, I found myself consistently falling short in my efforts. Living with my brain injury and my invisible disability left me clueless in my attempts to compensate for my real — yet unknown — deficits and limitations. In the process of my attempting to overcompensate I lost sight of who I was as a person. In the process, I became a human doing rather learning how to be in life.
Doing, instead of being, became more important as I sought to prove my standing amongst the status quo. Even as I attempted to overcompensate through overachieving I had no idea how my brain injury and my invisible disability intrinsically impacted my world. What made matters worse was that I sought to defend the notion that my brain injury, invisible disability, deficits, and limitations had nothing to do with my inability to meet expectations. In the course of defending my denial, I found that I was denying who I was as an individual.
In the course of maintaining and defending both my denial and the denial of family and friends, I grew weary in my attempts to prove that I was not an individual living with a brain injury and an invisible disability (with deficits and limitations). In my weariness, I reached a point in my life when I could no longer deny my reality. When I reached this place of despair — in which I could no longer deny my reality — I discovered a series of cause, effects, and contrasts. Below, I will share some of what I learned through examining those cause, effects, and contrasts.
Understanding these cause and effects helped me to stop fighting against myself. Understanding these cause and effects helped me to discover and explore what would worked for best for me. What worked best for me, given the injury to my brain, my invisible disability, deficits and limitations.
Identification as opposed to Comparison
Identification empowers, whereas comparison minimizes contribution. Comparison asserts stipulation to inclusion. Comparison mandates that certain criteria be met. Comparison predicates acceptance. Comparison demands compliance. Comparison postulates performance. Comparison shuns that which is different. Identification encourages progress while comparison specifies and expects outcomes. Identification celebrates small successes, whereas comparison, by its nature seeks to invalidate. Identification encourages individuality and motivates self-expression. Identification cultivates creativity.
Individuality is not considered a threat. Status quo is dismissed. Identification empowers and motivates. Identification musters enthusiasm in the face of any discouragement. Identification breaks down the walls of isolation. Alienation is dismissed. Eccentricity is held in esteem. Self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth no longer need to be qualified. Value and ability are accepted at face value. Identification seeks to reconcile. Identification promotes humility.
As I seek to identify with others I practice love and tolerance. Identification frees my humanity to explore apart from comparison’s dictates. Identification encourages individual expression. Identification encourages hope, whereas comparison predicates performance. Identification encourages the process. Identification promotes self-confidence. Progress is accepted as a function of seeking to accept both others and oneself. As I love and accept myself, I am free to create, with my being.
My being and worth are not tied to a specific “toy” or outcome. I no longer need to keep up with the Jones. I no longer need to chase after external validation. Identifying with others dispels my need to judge. Identification gives me permission to take risks and to scrape my knees in the process. Identification promotes excellence, not perfection. Identification frees me to stay in the moment and to live life on life’s terms. Identification promotes unity. Identification gives me the freedom to explore and be myself.
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