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Being You – Little Steps Make a Big Difference

By Lindsay Hutton

Being You – Little Steps Make a Big Difference

It seems like just about everyone, be it teachers, parents or people on TV, tell us how important it is to be yourself and even more importantly, to like yourself. These two things often come easier for some people. You know the sort of people I am talking about: that person in class who always seems to know the right answer, who always seems to be having fun, and does just about everything really well with a big smile. Though all of us are superstars at least some of the time, this world can make it easy to feel yucky about ourselves. However, there are a few things all of us can do that can keep us having fun and feeling good at least most of the time!

When I was five, I developed a problem in my left ear that required several surgeries to fix it, leaving me deaf in that ear. Even worse, the surgery left me with a huge scar tracing all the way around my ear, and I often had to walk around with a big chunk of cotton in it because the procedure left me with an ear that was easily infected and would leak fluid. So, here I was, left with a sore ear that didn’t work. To top it off, I had to learn to listen differently, and my ear looked and felt gross for about two years. Even worse, I was born with a left eye that didn’t work so well, and I had to wear an eye patch around the same time. Looking and feeling different was hard on me, and I knew I had to figure out some ways to feel better about myself, and fast!

I learned that the most important things to me weren’t that I couldn’t hear or see just like everyone else. Like me, I talked to some kids who have learned that there are little steps you can take that make a big difference.

  1. Find what you love, and learn more about it. Be it soccer, cookies or racecars, if you love something and it makes you happy, that’s your brain giving you a clue. Make like a detective and keep looking for more information about the fun things in your life! “I love watching American Idol every week with my sisters,” says Grace, who is hard-of-hearing and aged 12. “The singers would sing old songs sometimes, then we would look them up on the Internet and find out about who sang them first, and we’d get our dad to help us download them!”
  2. Your life is it’s own masterpiece in the making – keep track of it! Keep a diary, journal, scrapbook or even drawings of your everyday life. “I started keeping a book of lists when I was 6 or 7,” says Ana, a deaf high school student. “I love looking back on those little books just filled with all kinds of lists – there’s even a list of my favourite shapes of pasta!” If you choose to keep your words and pictures top-secret, that’s okay, but sharing some of your work with your friends and family can help them get to know you better.
  3. Be good to yourself, and stick close to friends who will, too. Sure, there are some people who may not be our favourite people that we have to be around sometimes, but not all the time. The golden rule about keeping happy is making friends with people who make us feel good. So, if someone you hang out with makes you feel crummy, move on. If that’s not an option, always remember that people who are grumpy or mean most of the time are usually unhappy with themselves, not you!