Zachary Fenell reveals what he deems the most harmful misconception impacting self-esteem.

The Most Harmful Misconception Impacting Self-Esteem

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Different misconceptions could damage your self-esteem. Exposing one in-particular might just help eliminate your self-doubts. Those pesky thoughts sabotaging your pride! Self-talk running interference, costing you confidence. Internal ideas holding you back from achieving your fullest potential.

“OKAY ZACHARY!” you probably prove ready to yell at your screen. You get the point. Now you want to know! Time to expose the self-esteem endangering misconception you say? Fair enough.

The Most Harmful Misconception Impacting Self-Esteem

Normal exists. Whatever your diagnosis, eyeballs attract to you. Curious glance lingering, eventually becoming irritating stares. You brace yourself, awaiting the onlooker’s mouth to open. What category will today’s random stranger comment fall under: rudely intrusive, obviously patronizing, or maybe absurdly dumbfounding?

No wonder you battle self-consciousness related to your disability! Tommy and Gina should count themselves lucky. You idolize their “normalcy.” I use quotes because again the idea normal exists equates to a misconception.

Aforementioned I name dropped Tommy and Gina. Indeed I am referencing Bon Jovi’s song “Livin’ On a Prayer.” Said song demonstrates my point. Surface level Tommy and Gina represent “normal.” Lyrics give no mention to any disabilities.

Yet listening to Bon Jovi sing certain distinctions stand out. Challenges the couple face. Tommy’s union strike while Gina works long shifts waitressing. How the two react to their circumstances shapes their individual personalities.

It’s My Life!

Alright, I need to quit the Bon Jovi references. Else I risk overshadowing a valuable message. Life altering really!

Plainly put, everybody possesses differences. If everyone remains different, where does that leave “normal?” Chancing coming across arrogant by quoting myself, I believe I conveyed the concept well in a recent interview.

We’re all different in one way or another. When I grew up, I wanted to be normal but normal isn’t a thing. It doesn’t exist. We all have something different about ourselves. If we are all different, what is normal? It’s a myth.

These differences I continue alluding to here manifest in countless ways. Family makeup comes to mind. Albeit sibling rivalry, parents divorcing, a family member’s untimely death, each impacts who you become.

Another influential factor involves financial status growing up. Likely your family’s wealth or lacking wealth molds your attitudes towards money. Work ethic may also connect to the family bank account. Truly the examples go on abundantly.

Arguably a disability like cerebral palsy obstructs the path to acceptance and inclusion greater than monetary or familial driven differences. Awkward gait and speech impediments among several traits bring your dissimilarities to the forefront. You think reason to sulk. I advise cause to celebrate!

Play Your Party Mix!

Celebrating living with a disability seems odd. Nonetheless I am confident my personal experiences can persuade you to view otherwise. Shall we examine specific tales told in my cerebral palsy memoir Off Balanced?

Within Off Balanced I detail a high school interaction with my friend Trip. Basically Trip noticed white tape sticking out my shirt. He asked “What’s that?” Opposed to telling him “Tape to help the scar on my back heal,” I tucked the tape in and responded abruptly “Nothing.”

Such closed off behavior hindered my high school friendships. Only after learning to embrace my CP the bonds with my high school friends strengthened. So much I found the courage to revisit the memory with Trip.

The journey resulting in me embracing my disability largely culminated amidst college. High school regrets motivated me to openly discuss my cerebral palsy. Subsequently I made friends better able to understand me.

James Schleicher (@IBBJames) provides a great example. Excellent actually! In Off Balanced I call James “the Real Life Zack Morris.” The basis for the moniker attributed to his involvement in multiple activities. Saying I admired James stands an accurate statement.

Since publishing my memoir our bond grew stronger. Once I achieved my half marathon goal in 2016 James persisted I complete a full marathon. I finally agreed under the stipulation he accompany me. Prior to sunrise October 8th, 2017 we set forth upon the Towpath Marathon. 11 hours, 40 minutes, and 31 seconds later we crossed the finish line, officially marathoners!

Through reveling in my differences I won James' admiration, somebody I admire. Strong testimony for why you should embrace your differences!

James and I pose after finishing the Towpath Marathon.

Throughout the 26.2 miles and afterwards James expressed his admiration towards me. He kept repeating “I always believed anything is possible. Now I KNOW anything is possible.”

Although James deserves credit given he encouraged me, everything ultimately originates to college. I decided to avoid avoiding my cerebral palsy and instead chat openly. Through accepting my disability and essentially reveling amid my uniqueness I received admiration courtesy someone I admire. Testimony displaying the empowerment embracing your differences entails!

Honoring the “Self” in Self-Esteem

Altogether self-esteem begins and ends with the “self.” Attributes currently casting you among self-doubt appear differently placed into context. Stay mindful to the most harmful misconception impacting self-esteem. Normal exists. We all possess our own differences, making normal a myth!

Distinguishing characteristics manifest in abundant ways. Disability, family life, and financial status include differences I covered in today’s post. Learning to accept and embrace your differences leads you to fulfilling your greatest potential. Who ever thought I, a guy with CP, would complete a marathon? Nevertheless I am a marathoner!

The empowering effect to realizing the truth behind “normal” fuels my passion to spread the message to many people. Utilizing the artistic talents my brother Nick harnesses I came up with a shirt meant to pass on the word. Please consider purchasing and empowering others to celebrate their differences. Sale ends Wednesday, November 8th, 2017.

The "Normal is a Myth" shirt is available in both short sleeve (Carolina blue, light steel, white) and long sleeve (light blue, light steel, white).

Help spread the truth about “Normal” by ordering and wearing this shirt!

Perhaps the best way to celebrate differences revolves around removing the negative stigma. Start by commenting below. Share what makes you different and how that serves you as a positive.

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