The good, the bad and the ugly (experiences) have all provided me valuable life lessons that have made me the person I am today. I'm an achondroplasia dwarf. I put others before myself and would like to be remembered for my heart not height. 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.