If we read the endless articles written about people with impairments we would get the impression that as a group we have the right to somehow not experience any form of hardship or ‘stress’. This worries and frustrates me because I believe that everyone can experience hardship regardless of their background, sometimes in a manner that is not obvious, and if we want equality, we need to accept hardship is a part of that.
I am defining hardship as experiencing situations that are harder than normal to resolve and something we can all experience regardless of our background. In this context, we can not ignore the fact that being or becoming impaired is a hardship in itself simply because it is a change of circumstances. While the systems people with impairments have to navigate could always be improved, they will always appear hard to those who are new to them or see them from an external position, which is where the media’s pity comes in.
I believe the problem is not hardship itself, but people’s attitude towards hardship. If you always see hardship as a bad thing then you will always been angry and frustrated at the world. It is all very well demanding the government makes everything easier because ‘stress’ is wrong but any system is going to cause stress. How the media and activists have defined stress to specifically relate to people applying for welfare benefits, linking them to suicides, has been politically motivated and ignore many other areas of hardship and stress people with impairments can face.
I see hardship differently, as a necessary part of daily life that we need to embrace and overcome. As oppose to trying to endlessly demand there should not be hardship in our lives, we should simply battle on to go pass the hardship. This requires hard work, determination and a positive attitude to life in general. While this may indeed not be easy, developing these qualities make us stronger and I believe better people.
It is important to understand that I am not saying that hardship is something we should celebrate and allow to increase, if hardships can truly be removed then they should be, but we can not make the fact something is hard a valid reason to simply avoid doing it. Mankind has progressed through the ages and made advances in all areas because of a willingness and desire to overcome hardships. If some of the politically correct liberal thinking was around when we lived in caves, the invention of fire would have been prohibited because of the dangers involved as well as the stress and anxiety it could cause!
Hardship is a part of humanity that makes us stronger as individuals as well as a collective. My determination to overcome any issue I have faced has been a core part of my identity, impairment or not, and helped me become a strong and proud person. I am unprepared to allow currect notions of political correctness take that away from me!