Tag Archives: Dreams

How to Envision your Dreams after a Disability

As we fight to recover from a Disability we need to envision ourselves again. Before the disability struck we all had a vision of who we were. When the disability struck, that vision ended up shattered. The self-vision served us. Now we need to create a new self vision.

Why is a self-vision important?

Self visions are important because they serve as a reference when we need guidance. How did you see yourself before your disability struck? You were probably capable and self-sufficient. You might have been a leader or a caretaker. If you saw yourself in those roles, you would feel comfortable doing those things.

As someone who was self-sufficient you did not ask for help. You would step forward and do what you needed to do.

As a caretaker, you would step forward and help others. You would take opportunities to learn how to care for others. Did you take first aid classes? Would you step forward and offer that first aid to those in need? If your help was rejected, would you take it personally? I did.

Now that you are disabled can you still help others? Is it hard to accept the help of others? These feelings come about because you can no longer live up to your self-image.

Your self-image gave you permission to do and act in certain ways. When you acted in those ways you felt good about yourself. When you failed to live up to your self-image you felt bad about yourself. That is one reason you feel bad when you are disabled – you can’t live up to your self-image.

How to create a new self-vision

Our self visions come about from the messages we receive from others. I was the oldest child, and thus told to look out for my sister and brother. When my sister started school, I was responsible to walk with her and be sure she got to and from school safely. Now, that our parents have passed on, I am even more aware of how they are doing. I still think of myself as the big brother, and now also as the Patriarch.

I now am disabled and not in contact with my sister and brother very often. They live in other states and care for themselves and their spouses. They would probably say they worry as much about me as I do them. Both ways, that worry does not take up much of our time or effort.

Day to day we need a clearer self-image. How I interact with my wife and those people I meet each day is the real result of my self-image.

Some questions I had to ask myself as I accepted my disability are:

  • Would I admit to be disabled?
  • How would I react to others help?
  • Would I fear others taking advantage of me?
  • Would I still seek ways to help others?
  • Would I still accept responsibilities and serve in organizations?
  • What would I do at home?
  • How would I do these things?

As I pondered these questions, I allowed myself to act in various ways. I resisted carrying a white cane. Then I realized that I could not walk about and feel safe without it. Carrying it told others that I was different (it is surprising that not everyone knows what a white cane is or means).

We fear that others will take advantage of us because we admit to being blind. I was asking for help, when I was used to being the helper. I am pleasantly surprised how comforting it is to have others looking out for me. Yes, I feel guilty about accepting a seat on a bus, when I can stand just as well as others. Also there are places on the bus where it is easier to hear the driver announce the stops than in the front. They have PA systems. I also like to sit facing forward. The sideways seats strain my back.

To find out whom you are after a disability you need to try out the various roles. You need to evaluate how well you feel you do in those roles. Are their skills you need to master? Should you just let those roles lapse? How do you feel about those options?

How do you see yourself now? Do you want to be happy and self-confident? Or are you willing to be a crippled shell of who you were? Now that you have some idea of whom you will become,

How will you use your new self-image?

Self-images have many forms. There is the mental and emotional image I have been talking about. However, these images show up in many places. Every time we post on Facebook and elsewhere on the web our photo appears. This might be called a logo or avatar. It shows others how we want to be seen.

How often do people replace their headshot with a photo of family or friends? Some even replace the photo with another image. That is the way they show up each time they post on Facebook. It is their avatar.

While we don’t use animals or other images on Facebook, they are convenient ways for us to see ourselves. What animal were you? Take a moment to put a name and recall that animal.

Now what animal are you? Is that the animal you want to become? If not what animal do you want to become? How does that animal act? How do you feel when you think about being that animal?

Once you have decided upon what animal you want to be, what attracts you to that animal. How would that animal act? Do you need to change anything about your present self to become that animal?

This envisioning is what Life coaches help people do. If you want help with the process set up a consultation and see if I would be a good Life coach to help you with this. There is a sign up box in the right sidebar.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Reviving your dreams after disability

Disabilities put an end to your dreams. Wanting to revive them after a disability is natural. Dreams are what give us the energy to strive and overcome challenges. We don’t want to surrender that energy. If surrendered, we want to recover it again.

You should not revive your dreams after a disability

Your old dreams were for another you. Before your disability you had different abilities. You could do different things. They were made for a different person in a different situation. To try and live out those old dreams will make you face the new reality over and over again.

I used to enjoy driving. It gave me a sense of freedom and competence. I never worried about accidents or harming others. As my eyesight failed, I had several near misses. One day I miss-judged the response of the car I was driving and flipped it. We were safe but shaken. While I miss the freedom of getting behind the wheel and going places, I don’t miss the fear that came over time. I can now recall with joy the freedom and ignore the fear, as long as I don’t try to drive.

As you see the reality of a disability it often causes you pain and depression. Would it not be easier to start afresh and not face the constant reminder of your loss?

How did those dreams come about? Were they not the product of your parents and others asking you things and offering you options? They molded you and often projected their own dreams on to you. How often does a father project onto his son the frustrated ambitions of an athlete? Often these projections are more subtle but still result in an ill-fitting dream.

Did that dream cause you stress? Did you feel that you must live that life? A dream that does not fit you does not give you energy. You don’t wake up each morning looking forward to living out that dream. Each night as you try to settle down the tension between your day and your dream haunts you. The challenges of the day were challenges with no rewards for overcoming them. You survived another day, for what? If you got closer to that dream did you feel any happier?

Do those old dreams now excite you? A dream should give you energy, energy to attack and conquer the challenges of the day. You now must look at those dreams. You are not the person you used to be. You are now the one who must create the dream. No longer are your parents and other adults responsible for you. They may still give you input, but their life experiences are no longer the ones you face. They are no longer able to mentor you.

You should dream anew after a disability.

As you live into a new you, you must look anew at your life. What can you do now? What do others with your abilities do? Should you let their limited successes limit you? Blind men have climbed Mt. Everest and solo hiked the Appellation trail. What will be the dream that you will embrace?

I have put the responsibility of driving behind me. I can now talk with the driver and others without worrying about getting lost. When I do get lost, it does not matter. Someone else is driving and we can recover. I am not alone in being lost!

I have moved to a place where I can take busses. Busses give me freedom that I would not have if I had to depend upon others to drive me. I can use the time waiting for and riding on the bus to plan, think, and read audio books. It may not be the way most of my peers do things, but it serves me well and I don’t have to strain to see where I am going.

When you were young you saw stories of other’s exploits. Some excited you and some seemed silly. What exploits now excite you? What now seem silly? Are there new stories that interest you?

Share your dreams old and new.

Bring others into this conversation. Do you know someone who needs a new dream?

Next week I continue this series on how to put your life back together to achieve your new dreams. Sign up at the right to be notified of when it is posted. If you know others who might also want to join us on this journey, forward this blog’s link to them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,