I have been thinking about what makes a champion — a champion — and then who certifies the individual as a champion. Society as a whole seems to promote several notions that, by nature disqualify most of us from believing we are champions. Some of these notions include the following scenarios. Being a star athlete or a professional athlete who makes millions of dollars. Being an Olympian who has achieved a bronze, silver or gold metal in the Olympic Games. Being a race car driver who wins a certain amount of races or someone who has won the Nobel Peace Prize. I am sure you could think of other instances where society deems a person worthy of being a champion. Each of the scenarios stress achievement and recognition.
From an early age, many of us get duped into believing that being a champion is the goal to strive for in life. Consequently, we set off on personal crusade to win the prize and become a champion. I spent many years of my life attempting to qualify to be some ones champion. I was convinced that if I could just win the prize (education, athletic superiority and a high paying job) then I could, too be a champion. Through my process, I learned a valuable lesson. If I am waiting for some one to certify that my efforts are in league with other champions, I may find myself chasing after the wind. Subsequently, I may find myself frustrated and despondent.
As a person with a disability, I need to remind myself that I do indeed have a disability. I need to remember lest I fall into someone’s denial system (read my post, Traumatic Brain Injury and Denial—My Perspective as a TBI Survivor). Although I am not my disability, I do have specific deficits and limitations. Although I have limitations and deficits, I am not those limitations or deficits. You may have a disability, but you are not your disability. You may have limitations, but you are not those limitations. You are a champion because you pursue excellence on a daily basis. You are a champion because you do not give up on yourself. You are a champion because you get up more times than you fall down. You are a champion because you chose to live as an empowered being. You are a champion because you learn from all of your experiences. You are a champion because you refuse to believe that you are a victim of your circumstances. You are a champion because you are doing your best.
We are champions because we live life on life’s terms. We are champions because we trust the process. We are champions because we know that we are not alone. We are champions because we celebrate small successes. We are champions when we take advantage of the opportunities that become available to us each day. We are champions when we follow our passions. We are champions when we refuse to be ignorant or arrogant. We are champions when we are accountable to other people and for ourselves. We are champions when we look for solutions. We are champions when we think outside the box. We are champions when we are honest with ourselves. We are champions when we trust the God of our understanding.
We are champions because we are… You are a champion, because you are… I am a champion, because I am… not because I have been approved by…
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