I hope you had a great time at the conference, I know I did. I learned a lot of things that really made me think. One thing that really sticks out to me is something David Unger was talking about. He talked about how in order to have freedom of choice to live the life that you really want to have, you need to respect yourself, respect other people, and be respected by others. That really meant a lot to me because I realized that at times, all three of these things can be very hard.
This one can be so tough. A lot of times as people with disabilities, we can be told, or we can feel like we are not as good as people who do not have disabilities. Sometimes, even not being able to go someplace in a wheelchair because there isn’t a ramp, or not being able to understand what somebody is saying because our brains may work a little differently, can also make us feel bad about ourselves if we are not careful.
How can we respect ourselves more?
- We need to realize that having a disability doesn’t make us less of a person. Our bodies or minds may work differently, but we are still awesome! We may have to stay this to ourselves a bunch of times, but it’s worth it.
- We can take care of our bodies and our minds. That means eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, getting regular checkups at the doctors and dentist. It can also mean things like taking an acting or a cooking class. Maybe a yoga class or getting involved with the Sports Chapter and play a sport that you love or some kind of outdoor activity.
- We might want to see a counselor, if there are things in our lives that are really bothering us. It doesn’t have to be about our disabilities. Sometimes, if we feel overwhelmed, having someone to talk to can really help. I know it’s helping me. Your family, friends, and other people that care about you and help you, would be great people to ask about where to find a counselor. You can also ask your SUFU Advisor or a SUFU staff member for advice on finding a counselor.
- Knowing that you deserve to be safe and treated well by others.
Respecting Other People:
- Everyone is different. No two people are the same.
- Sometimes people feel the same way about things as you do, sometimes they don’t.
- You don’t have to agree with everything somebody says, but making fun of somebody for what they say, or how they feel, isn’t being respectful to them.
Being Respected by Others:
- You have the right to feel safe and be listened to, by people in your life.
- If you feel like you aren’t safe or people are ignoring you, please talk with someone you trust like a family member, friend, case manager, SUFU Advisor, or SUFU staff member.
This is how I feel about what, “Respect,” means to me, but I have questions for you to discuss at Chapter meetings:
- 1. What does, “Respecting Yourself,” mean to you?
- 2. What does, “Respecting Others,” mean to you?
- 3. What does, “Being Respected by Others,” mean to you?
I’m so happy that I got to see so many great people last week, and I am glad that you are a part of SUFU.