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Barrier Talk – Eliminate Self-esteem and Perceptions:


G’day friends and welcome to another week and another post!

Hopefully you are all getting things done ready for Christmas!

So, following on from our first little blog series about stigma, I felt I had to up my game a tad. And what better way to do this than to chat about self-esteem and pushing past the barriers of perceptions. They go hand in hand so well I had to chat about both!

Let’s get cracking shall we?

The Barrier of Self-Esteem

Talking about the barrier of self-esteem this was when i was at my highest in high school. The picture is of me in a studio at my year 12 formal. I am wearing a pink A-line with crystals on the side and on the top with folds on the bodice. My hair is half up half down wearing long jeweled earrings. I am smiling at the camera with a hand on my right hip.

I think we can all agree that disabled or not everyone struggles with the barrier of self-esteem at some stage in their lives. If you are one of the lucky ones that haven’t, well you must not be human.

I may be a bit biased but when you are considered a minority by society, self-esteem is something you struggle with more often than not.

Growing up I struggled massively with self-esteem for years, more commonly in High School.

When you are already struggling with accepting your disability and being extremely different, adding comments and criticisms from others is like another hit to the stomach.

Being bullied also certainly didn’t help matters for me. However, I am so grateful that I didn’t experience cyber bullying like most kids these days go through. Although certainly seeing your ‘friends’ pictures on Facebook of them enjoying lunch in a bathroom upstairs, when they told you that they were just going to the bathroom and waiting downstairs for them certainly did hurt.

However, over time you become really good at realising that you need to become your own cheerleader. I think all of us have also figured that one out.

But how we go about it differs.

Personally, I realised that I needed to start spending more time with myself and get stuck into academics. I very quickly got comfortable with sitting at lunch by myself and chucking on the headphones come assignment prep in classes to block at all the chatter of my ‘friends’.

I started surrounding myself with better people who had the same goals and interests.

Academia became my strong suit really helped to lift my spirits.

Obviously Religion also became my breakthrough. I turned more to Faith and that lifted my positivity and self-esteem even more. However, everyone is different in how they break through the barrier of self-esteem.

Finding something you can ground yourself in makes all the difference. An extra few little tips: self-care is also a lifesaver and removing all the negative self talk and getting an awesome new wardrobe also helps!

The devil of believing perceptions.

me on a white horse. i am smiling at the camera wearing all black.
bringing back this pic because it is too good.

Ah perceptions. These are the things that can stop anyone in their tracks.

Those who are disabled know all about this.

Society is full of perceptions of how our lives should go or what we are capable of.

Some of the common ones are not being able to get married, get a job, have a family, leave the house. Basically in a nutshell ‘not amount to much’.

This is so ridiculous. There are so many people out there with all different abilities that are achieving some incredible things. From politicians, actors, singers, athletes, mum’s, dad’s, tradesmen, retail assistances and everything in between.

Personally people didn’t think I would still be walking at my age. Some perhaps wouldn’t believe I could ever do anything influential.

The one big one that has happened in the last few months the people probably questioned me over is doing the 5km walk for charity or riding a horse. Those a large physical obstacles that are not easy thing for someone like me. Of course it would be natural for people to question me.

However, that is the thing that I love and boosts my self-esteem! I love the challenge of doing something outside the comfort zone, but also proving people wrong. The adrenaline rush I get from that alone is second to none!  

For me destroying barriers is almost a full-time job!

I do think though that most of us disabled folk really enjoy proving people wrong.

A Barrier is only a  barrier if we allow them to stay that way.

So in saying that I have a message for you all.

Perceptions only hold us back if we believe those around us who wish to see us fail. If anything, they have demons themselves that are struggling to deal with.

In the perfect world, we will make a decision and want everyone to back us. However, it isn’t all like that. I had people hesitating in their excitement when I wanted to do the 5km, heck even learn how to ride a horse. In the past I would have given up because I detected resistance. However I stuck to my guns and backed myself and said I needed to at least try.

In my mind, I would much rather give something a go and know for certain if I can do it, as apposed to not even trying because we think ‘it is too hard’ or ‘it is too dangerous’.

I would have never been able to live with myself when it comes time to being permanently in a wheelchair, if I didn’t try everything I wanted to. Within reason of course!

So, to the parents and families of disabled children. At some point the bubble wrap has to come off. We shouldn’t be kept at home if we physically and mentally are able to handle the big wide world. It is ok. We only live once at the end of the day. Sometimes challenges are a good thing!

To those pesky people who think it is ok to criticise and throw shade left right and centre. Thank you. It only spurs us on more to remove the barrier that you think you have put on us.

To my people. Make it your job and mission to smash the one barrier that you feel is holding you back. Perhaps it is self-esteem. Or maybe you are believe people’s perceptions of you like gospel. No one’s perceptions of you are rarely ever true.

You can amount to so much more. It is up to you to break free and go after it and grab life by the horns.

What will you do to take your own life back?

– Rhi.  

p.s. after some more epic motivation? click hear to read more!

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