Saturday, 2 March 2013

Learning from adversity


Being comfortable reinforces what you already know, which can be very beneficial. Feeling uncomfortable creates the opportunity to learn something new.

I’ve had a stammer all my life. A stammer, like Parkinson’s, is a chronic condition; it has to be dealt with every day. Again, like Parkinson’s, there is no cure for a stammer. It has been a long, uncomfortable road but through my stammer I learnt Heidegger’s idea of thrownness (the state in which I exist is blameless, it just is); that I can’t choose my thrownness but I can choose my reaction to it. I also learnt resilience dealing with my stammer. It turns out that all these valuable lessons are applicable to Parkinson’s. A stammer was the perfect dress rehearsal for coping with the challenge of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Therefore, quite unexpectedly, my stammer had a positive influence on my life and in the forging of who I am. My stammer can be seen as the classroom wherein I learnt the clarity to cope with my Parkinson’s. I’m glad I concentrated in that lesson!

We all face adversity during our lives. Sometimes things happen outside of our control. This can be incredibly disempowering. However, real control and real empowerment comes from how we react to a situation. The adversity of my stammer, because I reacted to it in the right way (I learnt from it), shines a light on the adversity of my Parkinson’s. I am grateful to my stammer because without it my Parkinson’s would be shrouded in darkness.

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