Did you know that, although deaf and blind, Helen Keller was an author and activist who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union and later was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom? She was an admirable woman with greater clarity about who she was and what she wanted than most people who can see and hear.
It’s hard to imagine the kind of isolation a deaf or blind person may experience, since most of us interact with the world through the physical senses, but Keller was determined to communicate with others in spite of her disabilities. After going to a school for the blind and a school for the deaf, she was the first deaf blind student to attend and graduate from college.
She learned to speak and gave lectures and speeches throughout the years; she learned to “hear” by reading sign language and people’s lips with her hands; she even enjoyed the vibrations of music by placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop! As it often happens, her mess became her message, and she turned into an advocate for people with disabilities, among many other social causes. She gave a voice to many who didn’t have one.
You may think that certain people are just meant to be famous, so circumstances and opportunities magically come to them, which may be partly true due to individual karma, but we each use our resources and circumstances to pave the road to either success or misery—through an individualized framework to either stand on our own or remain hidden and small. Imagine if Helen Keller had decided to feel sorry for herself and skirted the spiritual responsibility for her life…
Thankfully, she was ambitious, resolute, and firm in her convictions. Above all—and to me this is one of her greatest contributions—she listened to herself and didn’t take anything for granted. Perhaps her impairments made her appreciate life more acutely, pay more attention, and be willing to make a bigger effort, but one thing is certain: she was not out there to please others or seek validation. She empowered others by being herself.
Remove Your Emotional Blinders
Taking things for granted turns you blind and taking yourself for granted makes you invisible. When you stop being curious and open, you stop valuing what life has to offer; since your attention holds the creative potential to shape more of what you focus on, this lack of appreciation blocks many possibilities and opportunities for your growth and success.
By the same token, when you take yourself for granted and stop perceiving the value of what you have to offer—what makes you who you are, unique among everyone else—then others around you also take it for granted. It’s like holding an invisible sign above your head that says, “I am not important” that automatically places you below others.
These emotional blinders show in different ways. For example:
- You’re more concerned about what others think than about what you want.
- You’re afraid to express your desires or ideas because you don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings.
- You squelch your own voice because you believe nobody really hears or understands you.
- You get easily overwhelmed by situations demanding you to make decisions.
- You tend to believe that others are better, smarter, luckier, stronger, or happier than you.
I’ve found that the best way to remove the blinders that keep you stuck in this distorted self-perception is to question your own beliefs and find the center within you from which you can be of service to others. This is usually an activity that anchors you in yourself and gives you a sense of purpose—a new appreciation for life. It must keep you independent, however, and connect you to who you are while also helping you transcend the ego-mind that wants you small and dis-empowered. So stop taking yourself for granted and contact me today to discover your inner voice, remain centered in yourself, and make a valuable contribution to your community and the world!
© 2015 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.