Maintaining a strong image of self is vital for people with disabilities.
Self-image is the mental picture we have of ourselves. More specifically, self-image partly results from how we see ourselves, how others see us, and how we think others see us.
The important aspect to remember is that these may or may not be an accurate representation of the true nature of a person.
A 2003 survey on spinal-cord injury (SCI) by Dr. Kim Anderson at the Reeve-Irvine Spinal Cord Research Center in Irvine, Calif., had some surprising results.
The survey asked people with SCI what function they would most like to have returned. Bladder and sexual function topped walking, which amazed researchers.
Is it really possible that what makes people with SCI feel separate from the general population is not the presence of a wheelchair as much as the presence of a leg bag and loss of an erection?
Maybe using a wheelchair for locomotion is nowhere near as embarrassing to the average adult as having a bladder/bowel accident while out in public.
And how does all of this affect one’s self-image?
“Therapists are realizing that self-shaming is ubiquitous among humans and that it has serious emotional consequences because one can easily continue denigrating oneself long after the so called shameful act has ended,” writes Albert Ellis, PhD, in his book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
I am not saying we can make a disabled person happy, but maybe we can make him or her happier.
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