Last week, while speaking to a group of healthcare professionals working towards a goal unimaginable a decade ago, that of a HIV/ AIDS Free Generation, a woman in the audience asked how we could work towards removing the stigma surrounding HIV/ AIDS.
My response revolved around focusing on how we see ourselves first; that people pick up on the energy our self-talk/ self-perception creates, and treat us accordingly.
Two examples come to mind, both from prior to my presentation that same day.
First, while grabbing coffee at Calgary Airport, I ran into Paralympian (and downright badass freeskier) Josh Dueck. Josh was on his way to speak in Orlando. We talked a little about speaking, about injuries, about catching up; before I had to run to catch my flight.
Arriving on the Skytrain into Vancouver a few hours later, I shared the elevator up to street level with a native man in a motorized wheelchair. A big guy with an incredible light in his eyes, he asked me what had happened. Told me he’d been in a car crash 30 years ago that left him a quadriplegic.
“You know, being a quad isn’t so bad. It’s just the little things; bladder infections; stuff like that.”…
Stuff like that…
We parted ways up at street level.
It strikes me now that in both of those situations, onlookers could have perceived a completely different version of events; a version stuck on the image of the chair and what that image means; to them.
Both conversations were upbeat, high level, celebration of life type conversations that could have so easily, with but a glance, been perceived quite differently.
Which begs the question:
How do you see the world?
Is there a lens or filter you’ve become used to?
A lens that if you think about it; you’ve been using for quite some time.
Here’s the kicker.
How is that lens affecting the way you see yourself?