16
Dec

Living with a Disability, Feeling Excluded and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Living with a disability, invisible or otherwise can leave many of us feeling excluded, isolated and wondering if our lives really matter. In December 2009 I wrote an article and divided the article into parts. The article’s title was Traumatic Brain Injury — Facing Alienation and Isolation — Turning Confusion into Clarity. Each year, during the holiday season and Christmas; I re-post the article. In the event that you are living with a disability, feeling excluded and isolated because of your disability, may this article encourage you to celebrate who you are as an individual. 

Below the article I will include a link to the video presentation of the article, under the title Celebrate What Makes You Different and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Video Presentation

And now the article

During this time of the year we may hear and maybe singing various carols. These Christmas carols / songs have become synonymous with this time of the year. One of these carols /songs is Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer. As a youth I heard this carol / song sung with the thought that, “This is a happy song”. As I have grown older the words of this song have taken on a different meaning. As the song begins, we are drawn to the names of Santa’s reindeer:  Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. As the song continues special attention is drawn to Rudolph.

As I have grown older, the words of this song have taken on a different meaning.

As the song begins, we are drawn to the names of Santa’s reindeer:Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. As the song continues special attention is drawn to Rudolph. The song tells us that Rudolph had a bright red shiny nose that some say even glowed. We are given the impression that Rudolph’s nose distinguished Rudolph from the other reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. With the next several lines of the carol / song we hear that Rudolph is laughed at, called names and not allowed to join in reindeer games.

Although the reason (s) why Rudolph is shunned, laughed at and called names is not made clear ― what is made clear is that Rudolph’s bright red shiny nose made him different from the other reindeer. Although Rudolph is merely a fictional character in a Christmas song, his plight can easily be identified with by individuals who have experienced similar rejection and ridicule ― because they are different from other members of the “herd”. As I listened to the song – with my new understanding – I found that I could identify with Rudolph’s experience with in the “herd”.

Although I attempted to go along to get along — for many years ― to find my place and position in the herd I continued to experience feelings of alienation and isolation for being different.

As we continue to listen to the lyrics of the song we hear, “then one foggy Christmas night Santa came to say…”. In this part of the song we hear that Santa recognized the value of what made Rudolph different and uniquely qualified to fulfill a unique need – to empower the herd and his mission. Upon reflection I can only imagine what Rudolph and the other reindeer thought when Santa asked Rudolph “Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” What the herd had laughed at and ridiculed and scorned, Santa saw as essential to accomplishing the mission before him – to guide his sleigh.

Rudolph’s gift – what made him different – empowered him to fulfill what none of the other reindeer could hope to do. What made Rudolph different equipped him to be of maximum service to Santa, to his fellow reindeer and as the song infers, to many boys and girls.

In my experience, because I bought into the notion that I deserved to be ostracized, ridiculed and rejected – because of what made me different – I criticized and berated myself for being different. Consequently, I had a difficult time celebrating the possibilities surrounding what made me different. Subsequently, instead of feeling connected – with a sense of belonging and inclusion – I experienced feelings of alienation and isolation. Instead of using my time and energy to explore how I could use what made me different, I sought to gain the approval and validation of the herd.

I continued to feel alienated and isolated from the “herd” and from myself until I experienced a spiritual awakening. The spiritual awakening revealed to me that I could no longer afford to be distracted by what the herd could not understand or accept.

My spiritual awakening revealed to me that I no longer had to wait for the herd to recognize, accept or approve the value of what made me different. My spiritual awakening revealed to me that I needed to begin to use what made me different despite the “herds” continued ridicule and exclusion. My spiritual awakening revealed to me that a loving God wanted to use what made me different to be a blessing to the “herd”, as well as to individuals ostracized by the herd – just as Santa used what made Rudolph different to bless the herd, the mission and to many individuals outside of the herd.

In your experience, you may have also found that – as Rudolph and I have discovered – that there is something that makes you different. You may be a traumatic brain injury survivor, an individual living with a disability or you may have experienced some other kind of trauma, abuse or adversity. Consequently, you may find yourself feeling ridiculed,ostracized and excluded by the herd. In the process, you may have a difficult time accepting yourself for being who you are as an individual. As I have shared in this article, I can identify with you. But that is not the end of the story.

The end of the story is that a loving God is going to use what makes us different, as Santa used Rudolph. What makes you and I, different is essential. What makes you and I different, is essential to God fulfilling a unique mission through us. What makes you and I different, will be used to draw the herd to fulfill its purpose. What makes you and I different, will be used as beacons of hope to draw our brother and sisters from the shadows of isolation feelings of alienation. What makes you and I different, will make us leaders. What makes you and I different, will help dreams live in people. What makes you and I different will empower people to move beyond the shore (s) of their fear and apprehension. What makes you and I different, will give people courage. What makes you and I different, will bring about the change that we want to see in our world.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Ghandi

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Ghandi

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” Mother Teresa

“You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” Scott Adams American Cartoonist

Insist on yourself, never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half-possession…Do that which is assigned to you, and you can not hope too much or dare too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

You may watch a video presentation of the article, by clicking on this link: Celebrate What Makes You Different and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Video Presentation

If you have any questions or would like to make a comment please use my Contact Information Page.

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All material presented on Second Chance to Live is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

23
Dec

Celebrate What Makes You Different and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Video Presentation

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. Thank you. In life we may have people who do not or can not see the value of who and what we have to bring to the table of life.

Consequently we may find ourselves shunned and excluded from groups and activities. No worries my friend. My encouragement to you is, be yourself and let your light shine. Keep doing what you are doing and be true to yourself. Celebrate yourself.

There may be people in your life who may not “get you” or see you as different.

There have been many people before us who were misunderstood, laughed and called names because they were different. Nevertheless, God used them in a big way because of what made them different. Be encouraged my friend. More will be revealed in time. 

Stay committed to being who you are as an individual. What makes you different will make room for you. Keep doing what you are doing and trust the process, a loving God and yourself. Your light will shine. You will fulfill your destiny.

I would like to share a familiar holiday story with you to illustrate my point through an article that I wrote and published and now presented in video format. I would encourage you to watch and listen to the entire video presentation, as I share what I discovered toward the end of the presentation.Thank you.

To watch and listen to the presentation, please click on the following link: Celebrate What Makes You Different and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Video Presentation

In the event that you would like to read the article from which this presentation is made, please click on the following link: Living with a Disability and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

As you watch, listen to or read this article and questions come to mind, please send those questions to me. All questions are good question. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you. You may send your question (s) or comment (s) by clicking on this link: Contact Page.

Receive more articles like this one simply by clicking on Subscribe to Second Chance to Live by email.

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All material presented on Second Chance to Live is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

21
Dec

Living with a Disability and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. Last year around — this time — I wrote the below article under a different title – Living with a disability and Feeling Different. Last year, I presented the article in 3 different parts. This year I  have decided to combine each of the 3 parts into one article. Although the article is longer than I normally publish on Second Chance to Live, I believe that by having the 3 parts of the article combined together, the context of the article will be easier to follow as you read the article.

And now for the article

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me my friend. You are always welcome around my table. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to both you and your family. During this time of the year we may hear and maybe singing various carols. These Christmas carols / songs have become synonymous with this time of the year. One of these carols /songs is Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer. As a youth I heard this carol / song sung with the thought that, “This is a happy song”.

As I have grown older, the words of this song have taken on a different meaning.

As the song begins, we are drawn to the names of Santa’s reindeer:Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. As the song continues special attention is drawn to Rudolph. The song tells us that Rudolph had a bright red shiny nose that some say even glowed. We are given the impression that Rudolph’s nose distinguished Rudolph from the other reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. With the next several lines of the carol / song we hear that Rudolph is laughed at, called names and not allowed to join in reindeer games.

Although the reason (s) why Rudolph is shunned, laughed at and called names is not made clear ― what is made clear is that Rudolph’s bright red shiny nose made him different from the other reindeer. Although Rudolph is merely a fictional character in a Christmas song, his plight can easily be identified with by individuals who have experienced similar rejection and ridicule ― because they are different from other members of the “herd”. As I listened to the song – with my new understanding – I found that I could identify with Rudolph’s experience with in the “herd”.

Although I attempted to go along to get along — for many years ― to find my place and position in the herd I continued to experience feelings of alienation and isolation for being different.

As we continue to listen to the lyrics of the song we hear, “then one foggy Christmas night Santa came to say…”. In this part of the song we hear that Santa recognized the value of what made Rudolph different and uniquely qualified to fulfill a unique need – to empower the herd and his mission. Upon reflection I can only imagine what Rudolph and the other reindeer thought when Santa asked Rudolph “Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” What the herd had laughed at and ridiculed and scorned, Santa saw as essential to accomplishing the mission before him – to guide his sleigh.

Rudolph’s gift – what made him different – empowered him to fulfill what none of the other reindeer could hope to do. What made Rudolph different equipped him to be of maximum service to Santa, to his fellow reindeer and as the song infers, to many boys and girls.

In my experience, because I bought into the notion that I deserved to be ostracized, ridiculed and rejected – because of what made me different – I criticized and berated myself for being different. Consequently, I had a difficult time celebrating the possibilities surrounding what made me different. Subsequently, instead of feeling connected – with a sense of belonging and inclusion – I experienced feelings of alienation and isolation. Instead of using my time and energy to explore how I could use what made me different, I sought to gain the approval and validation of the herd.

I continued to feel alienated and isolated from the “herd” and from myself until I experienced a spiritual awakening. The spiritual awakening revealed to me that I could no longer afford to be distracted by what the herd could not understand or accept.

My spiritual awakening revealed to me that I no longer had to wait for the herd to recognize, accept or approve the value of what made me different. My spiritual awakening revealed to me that I needed to begin to use what made me different despite the “herds” continued ridicule and exclusion. My spiritual awakening revealed to me that a loving God wanted to use what made me different to be a blessing to the “herd”, as well as to individuals ostracized by the herd – just as Santa used what made Rudolph different to bless the herd, the mission and to many individuals outside of the herd.

In your experience, you may have also found that – as Rudolph and I have discovered – that there is something that makes you different. You may be a traumatic brain injury survivor, an individual living with a disability or you may have experienced some other kind of trauma, abuse or adversity. Consequently, you may find yourself feeling ridiculed,ostracized and excluded by the herd. In the process, you may have a difficult time accepting yourself for being who you are as an individual. As I have shared in this article, I can identify with you. But that is not the end of the story.

The end of the story is that a loving God is going to use what makes us different, as Santa used Rudolph. What makes you and I, different is essential. What makes you and I different, is essential to God fulfilling a unique mission through us. What makes you and I different, will be used to draw the herd to fulfill its purpose. What makes you and I different, will be used as beacons of hope to draw our brother and sisters from the shadows of isolation feelings of alienation. What makes you and I different, will make us leaders. What makes you and I different, will help dreams live in people. What makes you and I different will empower people to move beyond the shore (s) of their fear and apprehension. What makes you and I different, will give people courage. What makes you and I different, will bring about the change that we want to see in our world.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Ghandi

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Ghandi

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” Mother Teresa

“You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” Scott Adams American Cartoonist

Insist on yourself, never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half-possession…Do that which is assigned to you, and you can not hope too much or dare too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

If you have any questions or would like to make a comment please use my Contact Information Page.

You may receive more articles like this one by Subscribing to Second Chance to Live

Bookmark and Share Second Chance to Live with your friends Subscribe in a Feed Reader

All material presented on Second Chance to Live is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND