I’ve written in my book and on this blog before about being embarrassed by the tics from my Tourette Syndrome. I think the unwanted attention that movement and vocal tics draw from others are what adds insult to injury. Think of it like this…I already can’t control some of my movements or vocalizations, and now someone wants to point at me and laugh because of them.
But I don’t bring this up because I want to discuss that it’s not fair to have Tourette Syndrome. I’ve already made the point (in another #TouretteTalk article) that life isn’t fair. Besides, thinking about how unfair it is to have Tourette Syndrome (or any other difficult disorder, illness, malady, etc.) puts me in a mindset of feeling like a victim. And let me tell you something…
I am not a victim. Nor will I allow myself to think that way.
You see I firmly believe that you and I have a choice when we wake up in the morning. We have a choice about how we look at the world. We can look at all the sad, frustrating things around us and focus on those things, OR we can wake up and see all the successes, all the stories of triumph over tragedy, all the beautiful things that happen every day around us, and we can focus on those. (Thanks Mom, for helping me see the world this way:)
By putting a stake in the ground and firmly claiming that I will see my life and the world around me in all it’s beauty and splendor, I am not lessening the difficulties that you and I are faced with. Life is hard. No doubt about it. What I am consciously choosing to do is to make a choice to see triumph over tragedy and to live life as a victor and not a victim.
Do me a quick favor. Think about it for a second and then tell me what your “impossible challenge” is. Say it out loud. Go ahead, give it a try. “My ‘impossible challenge’ is…”
Mine is dealing with the strange twitches and large uncontrollable movements of Tourette Syndrome on a daily, sometimes moment by moment, basis.
If you said it out loud, if you claimed it, do you know what you just did? You took ownership of it. You just took all the power it had over you away from it.
My embarrassment kept me from being willing to talk about having Tourette’s until I was in my thirties. When I finally got up the courage to start talking about it, everything changed for me.
Every time I helped educate someone about what T.S. is, I gained power over it. Every time I spoke in front of a group of people about overcoming my “impossible challenge”, I owned it and took away all of its power to embarrass me.
Do you know what else happens when you decide to “own” your difficulty, your malady, your disorder, or your challenge? For those of us that have been laughed at or bullied because of Tourette’s or anything that makes you stand out from others, “owning it” makes it much harder for someone to bully you or make fun of you.
I’m not saying that they can’t try. But when you make the choice to own it, and don’t see yourself as a victim of it, other people don’t have any power to make you feel bad about it.
Think about that for a second. By owning our difficulties and challenges, we can gain mental control over them. We can take away any power that someone else might try to exert over us. By owning our challenges, we can fully claim and proclaim our beauty and our brilliance to the world.
You never have to live like an outcast. You never have to feel guilt or embarrassment. You never have to be ashamed for something that isn’t your fault.
All you have to do is make a choice. Join me today in choosing to claim ownership over the challenges that you face. And then let’s choose to spread love into the world around us.
If you would like to read more of my #TouretteTalk articles, click here.
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