Welcome back to “A Nu You: Maximizing Life with a Disability!” Today’s topic is socialization. According to Webster’s Dictionary, socialization is “the activity of mixing socially with others.” Now one of the warnings that I have mentioned from time to time in this blog is that whenever our minds resist, I want you to persist! The topic of “socialization” is one of many topics that we will be discussing that is filled with a lot of emotion, and rightfully and understandably so. Still, I want you to persist, knowing full well that there is always some type of major personal growth waiting for you on the other side of this resistance and persistence.
Please be honest with yourself when it comes to your level of socialization. Now I am not saying anyone needs to be a “social butterfly,” but many of my clients with disabilities will emphatically tell me that they are online all the time connecting with people. On one hand, I love it, because the internet and social media are certainly two great vehicles for connecting with others and has truly benefitted people with mobility disabilities. However, some people, with and without disabilities, only connect with people through the internet and not face-to-face. That concerns me. Ideally, I want you to strive for a balance between socializing on the internet and still getting out there and socializing face-to-face.
Now based on your individual health, you may be bedridden or have ongoing transportation issues, which may not put you in a position to “get out there.” Still, you have an opportunity to bring people to you! Create the face-to-face interaction by inviting people to come to you. While I realize you may spend more time online than with people in person, it is always good to create this balance. When people spend too much time online, there is a good chance that they may be isolating themselves. This is one of the negatives associated with social media or any other constant communication online. Be careful of this trap. The internet is allowing us to connect with people easier and in greater numbers…and…it is also preventing us from leaving our homes and our comfort zones, and that is not a good thing. The bottom line is if you find yourself online constantly, reduce, not remove the online habit and replace it with more face-to-face interaction if possible.
Transportation and even ideas on what to do when you "get out there" can be challenging but your creativity will guide you. You will find a way to make it happen if you want it bad enough. I would suggest begining small. Maybe going out with a friend or small group of friends who know you and know what your needs may be. How about going out to a familiar restaurant, a shopping mall, a movie, or something that maybe, just maybe, you did before your disability entered your life. If you do not have any friends in your area, maybe going to a local support group meeting for your particular disability. You may gain more confidence and want to socialize by connecting with others who are in similar situations. Sometimes certain support groups also have outings that can create more social activities for you. The possibilities are endless, but it is up to YOU to create the opportunity for yourself.
To that end, your Nu Challenge this week is to:
- Reduce, not remove social media/the internet from your life
- Replace social media or home time with activities and people to get you out of the house
- Research accessibility and transportation options to give yourself peace of mind
If you have any questions of comments regarding today’s topic, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Until next time, when we will be talking about traveling with a disability, thanks for listening and playing full out in creating A Nu You!