Do you ever struggle with being joyful? Do you ever find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others? Do you often think about everything that could be better? List all of the reasons why you’re not happy and content? Chances are, the answer is probably yes. Well, now I have another thought provoking question for you….. how would you feel if you were wheel chair bound? Wow. I’m sure every single one of us would say, that would definitely be a big struggle to accept; and it would be even harder to be joyful in it.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a very sweet young lady. Her name is Mao Yang and she is an inspirational blogger at Mao’s Inspiration. She was born with cerebral palsy and now runs an inspirational lifestyle blog, hoping to encourage others with her beautiful words. Her writing is beautiful, and I am so, SO excited to be sharing it with you all today! Please, please, PLEASE, go check out her blog, give her a follow, and leave a sweet, encouraging comment to let her know that you appreciate her writing. It would seriously make my day. (And I’m pretty sure it would make hers too.) Well, I know that you didn’t come here to read my writing, so I’ll stop my rambling now 😉 Let’s get on to the post!
Finding Joy While Living With Cerebral Palsy
Hi everyone! First, before I get started, I just want to thank Cynthia for allowing me to do a guest post on here. It is an honor that I do not take lightly, I’m just so happy to be here.
I’ll be the first to admit, I am no expert in how to find joy, I don’t even have a fancy degree in joy to back me up. What I do see myself as, is a young woman who has been through so much and has had to face so many challenges in my short 23 years of life. Challenges, that have shaped and made me who I am, stronger than I ever imagined I could be, and forced me to find my own definition of joy. So it is my hope that in sharing a little bit of my story in what I consider to be my biggest challenge and how I choose to cope with it, you will be able to find the light or positivity in your own situation and overcome it.
My biggest challenge, (without a doubt) happened before I was even aware and could really grasp all that was going on in my world. I had been born premature and shortly thereafter diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a disability that is caused by damage to the brain before or during the birthing process, affecting muscle coordination and tone. Which for me means that even though I may know the steps it takes to complete a task in my mind, and I could easily explain it, it’s a whole other challenge to make my muscles work to help me follow through because they get stiff and tight ready to help all at once so it’s hard to separate them and just use the ones I really need to get them to do what I want.
Thankfully, growing up, my family made sure that I was very well aware of the fact that I had a disability and though I was going to face some obstacles because of it in life, they were committed to helping me through it as a family. They gave me all the love and support I needed and helped me to do all the things I wish I could do for myself, yet could not, due to my physical limitations.
That being said, I’m only human and as much as there are days where I am forever grateful for my family and for the fact that I am in good health, there are equally some days where I just feel so emotionally frustrated and am so wrapped in outright hatred for myself that it’s hard to see past my own negativity.
So how do I get through those very difficult times or days? The best thing I can do is acknowledge that this is how I’m feeling, it is what it is and though my life is hard and mundane most times, there are still moments and beautiful experiences to live for. Some through my gift of writing, others because of the fact that I am in a wheelchair truthfully, and my family and friends. To me, it does not matter how big, grand, or small those moments and experiences are, whether is a concert, trip, or an intimate family dinner. The moments that matter, the ones that you will remember forever, are those that make you feel not only glad to be there, but glad to be alive to take and breathe it all in.
So my advice to anyone going through a difficult time is to hold on tight through the hard times
because they will make you stronger and make you all the more cherish the good when it comes.
As I stated above,I truly hope that this post will help those it reaches feel less alone in their struggles. I would never want to claim I know someone else’s struggle in the everyday challenges they must face and compare it with my own, but before I go, I would like to leave each and every one of you with this, every person is faced with their own individual set of challenges that they must overcome No challenge you face is going to be greater than anyone else’s, it’s just different. So know that it is okay to feel down, to feel what you need to feel, but then also go on and be kind to yourself too because life is full of them and they may be apart of you but don’t define you. You are the only one who can truly define yourself, others who even think of trying are just offering you commentary.
Well that’s it for me, thanks for reading everyone! I really had a blast doing this.
Signing off with love and gratitude,
Thank you so much for being willing to share a little bit of your journey with us, Mao! I’m so glad that because of this blog, we were able to start chatting, and you had the opportunity to write for us.
Readers, I want to give you a little challenge here. How often do you find yourself complaining about small, trivial things? How many excuses do you use to justify your unhappiness? Now, just for a moment, try to imagine yourself in Mao’s shoes. Would you be able to look past those difficulties and choose to inspire and encourage others? Yes, of course she has her bad days, she has her rough nights, she has her tears, she has her pain, just like everyone else in this world. But you know what else she has? She has the desire to want to help others. To not just focus on herself, but to realize that through living with cerebral palsy, she has an opportunity that not many others have. She has the ability to encourage others not just by saying something like “Oh, I feel sorry for you.” But instead, “I understand what you’re going through. No, our struggles may not be exactly the same, but I understand what it’s like to live with a limitation. And you don’t have to let that struggle, disability, or limitation define you! Choose to count your blessings, choose to find joy in the simple things, choose to make the best of your situation, whatever it may be.” So how about you? Are you living your life the same way? Do you have a heart for others?I sure hope so!
Another important thing to point out, is the fact that she mentioned others who have it a lot worse off than she does. That is such an important thought to grasp. No, I’m not saying that just because someone else has it worse off than you do, that you should never struggle. BUT, it does help you to put your “problems” in perspective. You are alive! Every breath that you breath is a wonderful, undeserved blessing!
I especially loved what she said about going through challenges……No challenge you face is going to be greater than anyone else's. It's just different.Click To Tweet
Really, that is so, so true! So often, when people begin to go through trials and difficulties, it becomes easy to adapt a selfish state of mind. And I totally understand! But we need to remember, this life is not just about us! It’s about serving God, it’s about serving others. It’s about doing our best. EVEN through the trials, struggles, and difficulties.
So now I want to hear from YOU! Was this post able to be an encouragement to you? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below! It would make my day if you would leave a sweet, encouraging comment down below for Mao. I’m sure it would mean so much to her!