Looking back on it now, I realize that for years I felt my disability trapped me into a life I didn’t want to lead. During these years I felt if only I didn’t have a disability my life would instantly improve. Since my disability is the result of a birth injury which I didn’t plan, I felt like I was a victim to forces utterly beyond my control. Living with this victim mindset disempowered me.
Here’s a list of the Super Disempowers I once IMAGINED my speech impediment and coordination differences gave me-
- An excuse to do nothing about changing or improving my speech impediment or coordination differences
- A free pass from change, to justify not even trying
- A reason to fall back on when I felt too stressed or afraid to try new things
- A reason to be mad at life for being so cruel
- A reason why most people would think I’m weird and not like me
- A reason why I would never achieve my dreams
- A reason why I would never feel normal and always feel like an outcast
- An excuse from accountability for sabotaging my attempts to be normal, which meant that I would always be miserable, stressed and in a continual state of self-sabotage
Can you guess what my Super Disempowers were very effective at? Keeping me Super Disempowered!
Truthfully, I was afraid to make the big changes in life that I wanted to make, afraid to attempt them, afraid to practice, afraid to make mistakes, afraid to fail. When I didn’t attempt to change, my life appeared to be un-changeable. From this unchangeable perspective, it was easy to conclude that I was incapable of change and would always wallow in the painful feelings of victimhood.
Talk about a self-fulling prophecy.
It took me years to see that my Super Disempowers were merely opinions I held about myself and not concrete, immoveable facts.
Sometimes when we are stuck in the experience of victimhood, the Super Disempowers we create for ourselves seem like cold hard facts.
For much of my life I couldn’t see a life beyond being the victim of my Super Disempowers. My habitual patterns of feeling, of acting and reacting created situation after situation after situation that supported my sense of Super Disempowerment and my sense of victimhood.
It was only in recent years that I came to realize that my Super Disempowers practically disabled me more than my actual disabilities.
Not everyone has a physical disability but everyone deals with circumstances that have the potential to either disable them OR empower them.
I’ll share a list of Super Empowers I’ve discovered that reframe how I view my life now.
- I don’t have to be perfect, I can do my imperfect best
- When I make a mistake, I can be honest about it, make amends, recover from it and be stronger than before
- My speech impediment and coordination differences are a part of me that I use to the best of my ability to live the life I want to live
- I have systems, practices and values that help me live the best life I know how. When I get off track with these, I’m gentle with myself and guide myself back on-track
- Being exactly who I am gives me precisely what I need to persist and go for my dreams
I try my best to PRACTICE these Super EmPowers. Practice is the only thing that makes them come alive for me.
I wanted to explore living a new life of empowerment, and consistent practice is the only way I know of to explore this life. In my experience, simply saying “Super EmPower!” as a mantra would make me feel good for a time, but I would eventually grow frustrated that my words alone weren’t changing my life. The only way to make a Super EmPower reality is through consistent action through practice.
The miraculous and complete healing from my speech impediment, that I spent years hoping for, hasn’t come true and may not come true within my lifetime. But I’ve found what I believe is a far greater miracle. The miracle of Super EmPowering myself through consistent practice each and everyday that I’m up to it.
This miracle might not lead to a cure for my cerebral palsy, but it has led me to discover the miracle life I never knew I had before.
I pose these questions for you to consider, if you so desire-
- At this moment, what beliefs about yourself do you notice that might be Super DisEmpowering you?
- What Super EmPowers are you currently practicing?
- What is one Super Empower that you would love to practice but are not yet practicing?
- What is one tiny micro step you can take towards practicing this Super Empower – a micro step small enough to take today? Will you take it?
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.