Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference – Winston Churchill
While trolling for inspirational quotes for my office, I came across many good ones but I think this one speaks strongly to me as an individual as well as a mental health clinician. I once read an author say that in the world of disability, the most difficult barrier isn’t a step or a curb, but an attitude. This quote gives a complimentary viewpoint and I like it very much. Way back, when I was first losing my vision, a well meaning but abrasive technology instructor once told me, “you’ve got to change your attitude or this world will eat you up.” I was taken off-guard and tried to harden my resolve about improving my attitude to stand up to discrimination and the lack of awareness of others who knew little or nothing about blindness. What I found was that most folks didn’t pay attention to more than the stereotypical blind man who stood on the street corner selling pencils and holding a white cane and wearing dark glasses. I thought folks were supposed to be nice and helpful once they recognized I couldn’t see – well, I sure did lose that naïveté thinking after walking in New York City with my white cane.
Changing attitudes is a tough business and up until a few years ago I thought it was someone else’s responsibility, not mine. Now I know better. I know that if I want attitudes to change, I must pitch in to change them.
Winston Churchill was a world leader and icon. I’m just one woman who went blind and spent ten years ploughing through the rehabilitation process while raising a family and obtaining a master’s degree. Winston Churchill fought Communism and resided over war-torn Europe during a time of extreme crisis involving humanity. I was one person living with a disability and who was trying to do it with integrity. Okay, this could be an instance of apples and oranges but maybe there is more to it. After all, apples and oranges both blossom and bloom, then grow to become fruit on trees
My point is if he can inspire me with one sentence, then I am worthy of inspiring someone else, and so on.
For example, we have our own personal credos and missions in life. I love hearing about them from my clients. Veteran clients are another source of inspiration. Many of them have gone through intense and life altering experiences and have survived, gone on to work and raise families, etc. They, as a population, have faced adversity and witnessed the worst humanity could portray and yet they refuse to give up and are resilient.
A positive attitude is part of developing resiliency, just like acceptance. As a whole, humans improvise, adapt, and overcome and this quote made by a historic icon reinforces it.
Ann Chiappetta M.S., Family Therapist
The White Plains Vet Center
Department of Veterans Affairs
300 Hamilton Avenue Suite C
White Plains, N.Y. 10601
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