After my injury, I hated everything my wheelchair represented initially. But only after allowing myself to fully feel and work the the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression– was I able to get to a place of acceptance, even embracing my “chair.” I now see it as my vehicle of freedom. This radically changed my heart, perspective and unlocked new possibilities for my life that I had ruled out.
I’ve realized we all have metaphorical “chairs” – parts of life we wish were different but can’t control. And while radical acceptance is the goal, getting there requires courageously facing disappointment and loss.
We must give ourselves permission to feel the grief, to cry and process emotions in healthy ways – whether through talking to a trusted friend, therapist, or writing down what we’re feeling. The path requires entering scary spaces. Working through feelings of sadness and anger are needed to move towards acceptance.
Choosing radical self-acceptance didn’t change my circumstance. But it provided peace, contentment, and opened up creative options I had ruled out. My disability still confines me physically, but my horizons expanded exponentially.
I don’t know what your chair is or what feelings you need to process. But take small steps. Give those emotions space to move through you. See what happens when you surrender to reality as it is, not as you wish it was. Consider embracing your chair, using it as a vehicle for growth.
There is freedom, joy and power in knowing you don’t need external conditions to be changed in order to live a beautiful, hope-filled life. By embracing your chair, you discover that it does not preclude possibility and purpose. Counterintuitively, your limitation can become a vehicle for growth. Not in spite of your chair, but often because of the change in perspective it brings. When you surrender the need for your circumstances to be different, creative new avenues for thriving can emerge.
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