Self-esteem is a term used to describe how we view ourselves and our worth as a person. When someone has a healthy or more positive self-esteem, he or she is able to accept themselves as they are. This means acknowledging that we all have strengths and weaknesses.
Dealing with a Disability
One added challenge for a person with a disability may be viewing him or herself as a person first. A disability is only one facet of a person. Thus, for people with disabilities, it’s important to allow themselves to view their disability as one component of their life, not the only component.
Another issue for people with disabilities may be dealing with discrimination and societal stigmas. Our society places emphasis on looks, speed, and being the same as everyone else. Thus, people with disabilities might place additional pressure on themselves to try to meet society’s impossible standards.
Self-esteem is influenced by many variables while a person is developing his or her self-concept. It’s important to recognise the fact that lack of confidence doesn’t necessarily equate lack of ability. It may just be a false set of beliefs that a person holds about him or herself. Friends and society can also powerfully influence a person’s concept of him or herself. For people with disabilities, parents, friends, and society may have shaped your self-image in ways you wish to change.
Tips to help improve self-esteem for people with disabilities
Maximize the positive and minimize the negative
Everyone has both abilities and limitations. Focus on their abilities more than their limitations. Focus on helping develop their abilities so they can feel good about all the things they can do.
Set realistic goals
Since everyone has limitations, it’s unfair to expect everyone to be able to do something unrealistic. This may mean allowing an individual to take the extra time needed to complete a specific task and rewarding them for persevering. It may not be realistic to expect one person to do something in the same amount of time as someone without a disability might be able to do.
If there’s something that a person cannot do as a result of a person’s disability, it’s important to concentrate on the many things that they can do. All of their self-worth shouldn’t be tied to any one attribute or event. Just because they might be bad at one task, it doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of doing other tasks in general.
Avoid getting caught using “should” statements
Different persons have different abilities as well as learning paces. So it’s wrong to have certain expectations of someone. Thinking person X should be able to finish an activity in 30 minutes like others, can be translated in tone and gestures and easily impede the individual’s morale. Accommodations like extra time on activities are an important tool to create boost the person’s self-worth.
Appreciate them as individuals
They’re people just like me and you after all, with their own character quirks and traits. Their disability should also be appreciated. One way to do this is by highlighting their strengths including how their disability, or methods of coping with it, can be an asset rather than an impediment.