Reach member, Lily George, writes from experience. A successful Influencer on Instagram, signed model to Zebedee, Lily shares her journey of self growth.
I always get asked, where did you find the confidence in your hand? How did you get to feel, like you do? How did you learn to accept and embrace your difference? And I’ve got to say, there isn’t really a straight forward answer to getting to this point, but I thought I would share 5 tips and initial thoughts on how I got to acceptance and feeling confident with my limb difference:
1) Maybe the most important, one I say to everyone… TIME & PATIENCE – Now this may seem like a given but it’s so easy to rush feelings and thoughts, it’s easy to get frustrated that you aren’t where you want to be.
To get to where I am now has taken years, it wasn’t overnight! There is a lot your brain has to rethink and retrain and this can take time and you have to be kind to yourself and give yourself that time and patience.
2) BEING AWARE – I realised I needed to become aware of when/in what situations I was hiding my hand or feeling uncomfortable.
When it is such a big part of your life, the hiding and uncomfortableness happens subconsciously, and I realised I was no longer aware I was feeling that way because those uncomfortable, awkward and scared feelings were normal, but they shouldn’t/don’t have to be a normal feeling!
Once you are aware of them, you can start to make a change.
3) SMALL STEPS – Again, it may seem obvious but start with really small steps. So, like I said the first step is becoming aware, aware of what you are feeling and when. Then you can start to take action on those situations and feelings. So, I would consciously think when I’m in a public space I don’t have to hide my hand, today I will not pull my sleeve over my hand or hold it with my big hand I will let it be, or in this picture, I will not actively hide my hand, I will just let it be.
When I started to become aware and try to make changes, I would then actively and consciously think to myself, right Lily, make sure your hand is in this photo, shake hands with this person – that uncomfortable, self-conscious feeling will probably still be there but you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and that is so important for self-growth and being one step closer to where you want to be. Eventually, the uncomfortable feeling will start to go, it will become more natural, you won’t have to consciously think about doing it because that will be your normal! (this can take days, weeks, years – but don’t give up, you will get there!)
4) COMPARING – Your power is that no one else is you, this is so important to remember.
We are all guilty of comparing, limb difference or not but when it comes to comparing yourself with limb difference against no limb difference… well there just simply is no comparison. It doesn’t matter what someone else looks like, or can do, or how they do it. As a society, we have been taught to feel that there is a ‘correct’ way, a ‘normal’ way but this isn’t the case… every single one of us in the world is different!
Me and Bill from down the road probably won’t make a Sandwich the exact same way, that’s not because of me having a limb difference, that’s just because we are human, we aren’t robots that are all programmed to do everything exactly the same. And as for looks… perfect doesn’t exist and beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
experiences, and just no longer feel alone, which helps to build your confidence.
Between charities and advocates, there are some amazing pages, people, and information out there!
Importantly, remember how incredible you are, what makes you different makes you amazing and keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone!
“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Roy T. Bennett
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