Why you are not a second-class citizen

Many people believe that if they are battling a challenge, obstacle, adversity, limitation or setback in their lives, they are not as good as their peers – in other words they see themselves as a second-class citizen.  If you look at yourself as not being as good as the next guy or as being inferior or inadequate to your peers, then you need to know that you are wrong.

If you are living with, or battling, a challenge, obstacle, adversity, limitation or setback in your life, you have a lot more to bring to the table in a friendship, relationship and to an employer/work environment than you think.

It has been my personal experience as well as my observations of others who have challenges, obstacles, adversities, limitations or setbacks that people with challenges, obstacles, adversities, limitations or setbacks often are more compassionate and sensitive towards others.

I know that my own struggles in life have given me a unique perspective, if not empathy, for others who are struggling with their own challenges, obstacles, adversities, limitations or setbacks.

Granted, I do not know exactly how they feel (and I would never say to anyone I know exactly how you feel), but I believe I am more able to put myself in their shoes than someone who is blessed not to have struggled with serious health conditions, physical disabilities, vision impairments and the obstacles the aforementioned struggles created between myself and achieving my life goals.

For example: in the summer of 2002, when the news broke of Sgt. Steve mays, a Modesto Police officer, had been in a serious crash while pursuing a suspect wanted for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer (https://callcenterinfo.tmcnet.com/news/2009/07/24/4289984.htm) that left him in a prolonged vegetated state I was able to imagine what it would be like to be in a prolonged vegetated state on life support, because a four days earlier I awoke from cardiac surgery and was on a vent for more than a day.

During the Iraq war in the early years of the 21st century, there was a news story of how U.S. troops had dragged a disabled man out of his home in Iraq, shot and killed him and made it look like it was done in self-defense.  When I heard this story, I was brought to tears.  At the time the story broke, I was still confined to my wheelchair and it was easy for me to imagine how the man felt like, if he was disabled and unable to defend himself like myself, and what he must have felt (the fear) as men who were suppose to be there to keep him safe during a violent time in his country used their power to kill a man who had no way to define himself.

Those are just two examples of how my life experiences and my disabilities have given me a level of empathy I would have had if I did not have the challenges, obstacles, adversities, limitations or setbacks I have experienced in my life.

I do not look at my challenges, obstacles, adversities, limitations or setbacks as obstacles that make me a second class citizen, instead I look at all my challenges, obstacles, adversities, limitations or setbacks as gifts that I can bring to any relationship.