Stop Caring What Other People Think About You in a Wheelchair

Reading time: 2 minutes

Seriously.

I don’t have this problem, but I’ve seen it. Here’s something I read everyday, followed by my logic for how I don’t have this issue.

“A [hu]man is about as big as the things that make [them]him angry”

Winston Churchill – Artist, Writer, Orator, former PM of the UK

If you live your life worrying what other people think about you, you’re as good as dead. I do whatever I want, whenever I want, within the confines of my own morals and goals. Some people really care what others think, that can sometimes be important, but not in this case.

You may or may not know, but I’m in college. I go out on campus and out to parties and do anything you’d expect from an average bloke. When I was at a party, people were telling me how cool it is for me to be there – I considered it no big deal. Most people in wheelchairs may shy away from a party for being in a wheelchair. I’ll be trying to ski this winter as well.

Some people in wheelchairs are so self-absorbed that they avoid doing things for the sake of people looking at them and having some thought about it. That’s no way to live.

Consider your last conversation, how did it go? How did you feel? Do you know how the other person felt? or do you remember more of what you said and what you were thinking during the conversation?

People, myself included, will listen for a little bit and then get distracted on what they think and are going to respond with.

It takes a considerable amount of time to gain meditative qualities of being present in the moment and being able to listen. So, if you said something silly, remember that you’re probably the only one who remembers – other people are too busy remembering the silly thing that they said!

The only perspective you truly experience is your own, for your entire life. So, without constant work, you’ll think about yourself a lot. It’s why being an good listener is hard, because people always focus on themselves rather than what that person is saying, or it’s their interpretation of what the person is saying and then thinking of a response.

If you’re in a wheelchair and do even a trivial amount day-to-day, people will think you’re awesome for it. I get praise for things wildly underrated as well as things that I would actually expect it for. But people always think it’s badass.

The truth is, there are many people in wheelchairs who have just given up on life. Although I accept my situation, I don’t actually accept it long term and I don’t accept the negatives. I’m using it as a launch pad into the next successful platform of my life. There are countless opportunities, especially today with skiing as an availability.

You wont ever know what people think, and you’re likely to be wrong if you guessed. Don’t guess and don’t care. Do what you want, and if you look a bit silly when you transfer into a kayak or need help getting into a helicopter, just own it – I did.

Throughout my life, I’ve seen many people trip right in front of me.
Publicly losing balance is one of the most embarrassing lay events to happen, and I don’t even really remember witnessing the events, I remember my perspective and feeling bad both for the person and for internally laughing, but I don’t actually remember the person. I wouldn’t recognize them if they kissed me (got up close).

Overall, most people will admire you. Even if they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to imagine they do.

And one more time for the cheap seats,

A man is about as big as the things that make him angry

Winston Churchill – Artist, Writer, Orator, former PM of the UK

Immediate actionable items: Stop caring what others think of you while doing things. Take a look at the “over deliver” section for my personal brainstorm of things to do TODAY.

Summary: people are thinking of themselves just as much as you are, and if you give it some conscious observation, you think about yourself a lot. Do whatever you want and holding back for the consideration of your ego is a waste of an amazing life.

Overdeliver:  Practice doing silly things and not caring what others think or do daring things. Go ski, bike, do a weird transfer, have a friend carry you along the beach, have a grandparent push you around town. Whatever you do, just don’t mind other’s opinions.

One Reply to “Stop Caring What Other People Think About You in a Wheelchair”

  1. This is good advice. I wish that I had your confidence when I go out in my wheelchair! But remember that for some people, not caring what others think is sometimes easier said than done. Generally, I don’t really mind what other people think. I’ve had to use a wheelchair since I was seven, but now I’m a teenager – and the combination of being an occassional insecure teen AND being disabled can be difficult. I live in a society that’s told me since the moment that I was born that I have to be skinny and beautiful if I want to be loved, that I’m too black, and my nose is too big. Most of that I can ignore. But if I’m at a restaurant and a bunch of people stare and point at me because I’m eating my food by putting my mouth to the plate and I have sauce all over my face – it can still feel humiliating. I’m not an attraction at a zoo, and I shouldn’t have to accept that. I’d confront them, ask them if they had any questions about my disability, and try to educate them so that they wouldn’t stare at the next person. Because no one deserves to feel that way. Thank you so much for the uplifting post! I hope that more people will take this on board.

    Liked by 1 person

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