When you are asked, “do you matter?” What do you say? I mean what you really think in your heart. For most of us especially after a disability we might think we don’t matter. That is the way much of society treats us. We are redundant. No one wants to work with us and help us contribute to the group.
Those who are too slow soon get left behind. Not just on the metaphoric journey thru life, but also in school and elsewhere. In school we followed the successes of the stars. They were our heroes, the ones who got to do the special things. We read about them in the school news. Everyone knew who they were.
As adults we hear about those people with exceptional abilities. We elect the best politician into office. We promote the best candidate for the job. Then we fire the ones who struggle to keep up. They are soon gone and forgotten from the team.
When you find you are the one who got cut out what do you do?
You have just been told you don’t matter. Do you take that on as your new identity?
It is so easy to think we don’t matter anymore and get depressed. Depression serves only to separate you further from the pack. Until you realize that you need to find a new way of thinking about yourself and take charge you will always wonder if you will ever find yourself in a pack again.
In order to matter, you need to understand how you fit in, so ask yourself:
- How have you contributed to the lives of your family members?
- How have you contributed to your friends?
- How have you contributed at work?
- How have you contributed to your community?
- What have you created and given to the world?
Many of us will notice that we have fallen short of what we wished. Now how can we activate our drive to matter to the world?
First, give of your best in all that you do. Strive to do your best and when you fall short let yourself learn from the experience.
Last evening I was with some friends and one woman suddenly started putting down what I was saying. I persisted in trying to make my point. Later I realized that she had a story she needed to share. While I don’t think that would have been the best place to share her story, I do not know for sure. I think we could have addressed it. The next time I get an opportunity, I will try to hear others stories when they interrupt me.
Next, seek out opportunities to contribute. Where might your gifts and abilities benefit others? This need not be in formal volunteer settings. You can contribute by holding open a door and smiling at the people you meet on the street. Yes, even such a simple act as smiling at strangers matters. Does seeing happy people make you feel better?
There are guidelines you can use to evaluate your experiences so you can recognize those opportunities which confirm that you matter.
- What are your abilities?
- How do they benefit others?
- How do you see the benefit?
- What new opportunities are coming your way? Yes, the world is always offering you things. You need to recognize and accept what is offered.
Third, how can you help others to live better? This may be just calling someone who is suffering and showing them you care. When you were sick and others contacted you did that make your day? You can make someone else’s day and say Hi.
What have you contributed that mattered to the world?
What new opportunities do you notice coming your way to be someone who matters?
What steps will you take to become someone who matters?
Remember when you matter you feel better.
As all Ways, Seek Joy,
PS, this is the thirteenth in the blog series on making a Disability your life’s biggest gift. They are inspired by Brendon Burchard’s book, The Charge