Self Consciousness in a Wheelchair

Being self-conscious, in other words, a lack of confidence can happen to anyone at any time. Those who are in a wheelchair may have this feeling more often or in ways that prevent them from going out. Now, I wouldn’t expect anyone to fully admit to this, instead, you might justify yourself by saying “the weather is bad,” or “I have other stuff to take care of.”

I will try my best to help you make the mental leap over this barrier, I don’t remember the last time I felt self-conscious and I’m hoping I don’t sound like that person when asked how they got successful said “I just did it, it was easy.”

The first step is to realize where this unease is coming from. Self-consciousness by definition is you being uncomfortable with yourself in a public setting, usually something about how others will perceive you. Understand that this is how you see yourself and how you think that people will see you AND their reaction/judgment. When we are self-conscious, this is also a cultural thing – different people will be embarrassed about things that THEY value.

What I was trying to convey to you is that this is a highly subjective thing. We live in our own world and when we die, the world dies. Your assumptions about what people will think of you is really just you projecting your opinions and values onto other people (not very theory-of-mind of you).

It is true that people may look at you and make a snap judgment as is human nature, but if you imagine yourself as someone who maybe hasn’t ever seen someone in a wheelchair except in movies, or very rarely in life, try and imagine what their first instinct would be.

It’s hard to imagine this. They might think “there’s someone in a wheelchair,” and depending on the setting “good for them, if they can do it, so can I,” and “I wonder what happened to them.”

I’ve just started going to a new gym, and today was my third day. Within these 3 days, 3 people came up to me to tell me something like “hey man, just wanted to let you know you’re crushing it and very inspiring, keep it up!”

How often do you give people compliments? Not on their looks or anything material, but perhaps someone overweight at the gym and telling them to keep at it, or a skinny kid who’s just getting into it. Maybe you think it but don’t have the courage to actually go to someone and tell them they’re inspiring. My rule of thumb, which has no basis and probably can’t be tested, is that for every 1 person who gives me a compliment, there are 3 more who only think it.

This might be one of the harder things for someone to do, which is to realize that it doesn’t matter what people are thinking of you (if they’re even thinking of you). Most of the time, people are wrapped up in their own self-conscious conversations, or if they aren’t specifically focused on that, it is very likely something else to do with themselves.

Ultimately, my goal here is to encourage any reader to understand that it is critical to stop letting self-consciousness hold you back from doing something, especially something like the gym which has so many benefits. The very deep-rooted solution to this is self-acceptance. This will be next week’s topic.

Here are some one-liners:

  • You think about yourself more than anyone else
  • Don’t project your views onto others (how you view yourself)
  • How you view yourself comes from your values and perception of the world
  • We don’t get to live again, don’t let the ASSUMPTIONS of other’s opinions keep you from experiencing life
  • You must start from a place of self-acceptance, then no outside judgments will affect you
  • It always helps to be with someone
  • People may have an instinctual snap judgment of you, but after that, they are likely back to thinking of themselves
  • Take care of yourself for a confidence boost
  • “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

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