Many people know me for my speeches. Many people who ever had the opportunity to hear me speak, would recognise the George Bernard Shaw quote but here is the extended version as follows:
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and for as long as I live, it is my privilege to do whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die – for the harder I work the more I live. I will rejoice in life for its own sake. For life is no brief candle, to me is a sort of splendid torch which I got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish Playwright)
When I first began writing my speeches back in 2012. I was looking for something that would resonate with me or reflect the occasion as it were, but most importantly reflect on who I am, since then I have always used the Shaw quote as the conclusion or ending to a lot of my speeches.
I came across the quote at a time in my life when I was overcoming my depression and making great strides in doing so. As I emerged out of my own darkness as it were, I found myself to be emphatic, understanding and people starting graduating towards me as they wanted somebody to listen to them. I have heard so many heart-breaking stories from people suffering with depression but I also heard many inspirational stories of people in recovery or finding ways to live a meaningful and somewhat happy life. It is possible, recovery that is and I am living proof.
The Shaw quote struck a deep chord within me. Not only is he referring to himself, I feel as though he may be writing about me too. Silly I know! I am at a stage in life now, where I too want use up my life helping and empowering others to succeed but not only that, to be immersed in true joy, in doing so I will pass the knowledge, experience and love onto others so they too can pass it on to “future generations”.
Life is meant to be lived and quite frankly I am DONE with just existing. Years of my life were lost to depression, but I now have the most wonderful opportunity to live my life and sing finally like a bird released from its cage (mind you, I cannot hold a tune!).
Faith is the bird that sings, while the dawn is still dark. ~ unknown.
I am very happy to be where I am now. Without my struggles, I never would have stumbled upon my strength. I now find myself in the unique position of helping those in society to empower themselves thereby, giving them the compassion, understanding and a listening ear to help them overcome some of their struggles and issues. As a person with a background in mental health and working with those who suffer with mental health and disabilities.
My motto is: that a disability should in no way, hinder a person’s desires to get along in life!
Too many people are being unfairly marginalised and have labels put upon them. People, all of us whether we have a disabling condition, illness either physically or mentally and whether you have a physical disability or maybe it is unseen to the eye or maybe you are not disabled or mentally unwell.
We all can create the most extraordinary things when we look beyond the disability and change our perspective and attitude towards those of us who maybe at a disadvantage or looked upon unfairly and even dismissed by society in general. I have had the most amazing opportunity to work with those less fortunate than myself, only to find that just maybe they are the most fortunate ones as their perspective on life always amazes me when they break the boundaries and the limitations of their physical and or mental disabilities. A fine example for me is the Special and Paralympic teams around the world and the amazing people I had the pleasure of working with.
People with disabilities, whether it’s intellectual, physical or unseen, have the most amazing attitude to life. When I am around people with disabilities of any kind I feel somewhat blessed as they teach me so much about life and open my eyes to see the wonderful people before me and I learn so much and very humbled as a result.
Whenever you encounter somebody with a disability, please don’t judge them in your head, in your actions or with your body language. Instead listen, listen to them, learn from them and they will teach you a lot about overcoming obstacles, embracing challenges and appreciating life.
So next time you encounter a disabled person, remember these people are people too. Look beyond their disability and see the person in front of you. A human being just like you and I. Let’s change our perspectives on how we treat people with disabilities and broaden our community and make it as inclusive to everyone as we possibly can. All ages, race, nationalities, those with disabilities etc.
What do you say..??
Diversity in my opinion can only strengthen our communities, if we embrace it!!