The good, the bad and the ugly [experiences] have all provided me valuable life lessons that have made me the person I am today. Below are 23 things I have learned as a little person in today’s society, that has both built my character and tested my patience.
1) I have learned the importance of a strong first impression.
2) I have learned how to handle the unwanted spotlight. Presenting yourself in a positive, healthy demeanor brings color into the room and like any difference, once the person gets to know the individual; the difference takes second place to the personality and ability to make a new friend.
3) I have learned to zip my lips and to let my actions do the talking.
4) I have learned to have patience with myself, others and when traveling.
5) I have learned that I am not my failures or rejections. I am not the hopeless romantic, the job I couldn’t get, and the school who wait-listed me. I am however my passions, my convictions and full of unconditional love and support from the company I have kept myself in.
6) I have learned to wake up every morning with a smile. Because I have learned that it makes all of the difference towards having a good day and a bad one.
7) I have learned that sometimes the best comeback is no comeback.
8) I have learned the power of a smile.
9) I have learned to think on my feet and to constantly be on my toes. Awareness, body language and creativity are three-skills I had to hone at an early age in order to “survive.” Small effortless tasks such as walking in a parking lot, sitting in a chair, and reaching for a box of cereal in the cabinet are much more analyzed and strategically thought out than you can ever imagine.
10) I have learned how to remain calm, when deep down all I want to do is rip some strangers head off because of their impoliteness.
11) I have learned how to tell the difference between innocent curiosity and a person who is intentionally being disrespectful.
12) I learned to have a thicker skin. It takes a lot for an insult to sink into my head or reach my heart.
13) I have learned to laugh at myself; it’s the best way to visibly show self-acceptance.
14) I have learned that I can do anything I put my mind to. We have the technology and resources to make almost any adaptation needed to provide all with the appropriate accommodations needed to be provided with an opportunity to succeed. I have learned to never stop learning. After graduation, you learn by reading, writing, asking questions, and sharing knowledge with others, living life and through experience. There are a lot of good people out there, surround yourself with those who are just as motivated as you and never ever give up, no matter how many times you have previously failed.
15) I have learned that the only handicap in life is a negative attitude.
16) I have learned to focus on my family and friends, when we are in public, as if there is no one else around – because no one else matters anyways.
17) I have learned it’s not a question of “having” the time, it’s a question of “making” the time. Everyone’s life is busy, but we make time for our priorities.
18) I have learned to not take everything personally. Just because an employee won’t let you on a roller-coaster, even though you’re 23 and 1 inch shy of meeting the minimum required height, doesn’t mean he has something against you, he is just doing his job–and actually protecting your safety. Don’t let a comment from an acquaintance or stranger ruin your day; they don’t know who you are and what you’re capable of.
19) I have learned when something is really an issue and when to let go of something.
20) I have learned that everyone judges. We all do it. When people see a difference that they don’t recognize or don’t know much about, and before they even realize it they may be staring or pointing. They usually do not intent to be rude or insensitive; it is just part of being human.
21) I have learned to be an advocate for not only my life, and myself but for all those who have a physical handicap in which assumptions, accusations, and limitations have been placed on it.
22) I have learned that having an “I will have a great life” belief and mentality makes all of the difference.
23) I have learned that every person and every day is beautifully different. They are both full of surprise, beauty and potential. Some days and some people are better than others, some are even life changing.
cc: Huffington Post article
Mathew… what a brilliant article! Loved every word and I intend to retread several times to let that all sink in. Thank you for your words and your advocacy. They were just perfect and so refreshing. My daughter, Lilah is an LP… 17 months old. I would live for her to read this someday. I think I will save it for her. I am sure she will have her own journey and learn lots along the way too. Thank you again.
I love this too. I’m not a little person, but I have an invisible disease or a few LOL! I look fine on the outside, but have 4 autoimmune diseases. I think I can apply most of this to my life as well!
Matthew, thank you for sharing your wisdom. I hope that I can learn from your example, and let more positive thoughts into my life. I say this, not as a little person, but as someone who values truth. I admire your decision to lead life in the manner you see fit, not according to the expectations of others – there is a lesson therein for us all.
Matthew, thank you for this. Even though I am not a little person at 4’11”, I too have had to deal with issues like these and learned these same lessons. I guess it’s just life. Live, Laugh, Learn
Love this article, really cute 😀 I’m pretty tall for my age, I’m 1.8m, and I guess I can sorta understand where you’re coming from. Really neat article 😀
I like your attitude, I hope and pray that you can keep it when your my age with all of the experiences that you will have in life, between now and then. Hopefully my generation makes some changes to help you and my children on your/their quest for equality and diversity.
Amazing insights. I am an amputee. It was a shocking blow to lose a leg but I worked hard to overcome it and despite my endless denials, I have often let the disability defeat me. Reading things such as you have shared give me a strong will. I owe you a debt of gratitude.
Thank you for this! My 10 year old daughter with achondroplasia wants to hang it in her bedroom.
What a marvellous article which can apply to all off us in some measure. My granddaughter is a Little Person and I have learned much from her who shares your philosophy. Have a great life and God bless you.
Reblogged this on buinhatthien and commented:
Hi. Wow, I would love your thoughts. It may be because I have not been thinking like you. I do not have to be a little too small. but I still can not have a better thought. appearance probably is not important in this life. And much more. That’s what your thinking. thanks for the post.
Maybe I’ll rethink her.
Hi there. wow, I would love your thoughts. It may be because I have not been thinking like you. I do not have to be a little too small. but I still can not have a better thought. appearance probably is not important in this life. And much more. That’s what your thinking. thanks for the post.
Maybe I’ll rethink about me.
As the mom of an LP (achon as well) you have summarized exactly what I have tired to instill in my teenage daughter. I have told her that often times when we come across someone SO ignorant that the best punishment for them is to leave them in their ignorance. We have had some rather nasty incidents in public and lots of tears but in the end, she knows that her family loves her unconditionally and that is all that matters!
Thank you for reinforcing what I have tried to teach!
hi!,I really like your writing so so much! proportion we communicate more about your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this space to unravel my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking ahead to see you. egckgdkaegca
As a mother of a son who is a LP…..you have much wisdom in your words. My son is now 26 yrs old and has mostly good days…..I have taught him not to feel sorry for himself….it is what it is. Live life to the fullest…no matter what size you may be in this world. thanks again for your wisdom
I’m a mom of an 18 yo achon and I think you have a great way of looking at life. Happiness and success in all you do.
#7 is exactly how I think too. I love this! With the exception of #15, as for those LP’s who require wheelchairs and scooters, unfortunately no amount of positive attitudes will make a staircase into a ramp.