Why would we ever define ourselves by our adversity?
I almost never describe myself as “a quadriplegic.” My disability doesn’t define me. But it’s my most distinguishing characteristic, so it’s absolutely fine if someone describes me that way or as “the disabled guy.” When it’s appropriate, I’ll say “guy in a wheelchair,” “paralyzed guy,” or on rare occasion “guy with quadriplegia.”
Isn’t it much more productive and happier to define ourselves by the positive things we bring to the world?
How do you think other people perceive you if you primarily describe yourself (or see yourself) as a: widow/widower, diabetic, paraplegic, amputee, convict, divorcee, minority (of any kind), alcoholic/addict, cancer (or other)-patient, or an abuse (or other)-victim?
Could your perspective on the world be improved by describing yourself foremostly to others (and to yourself) as something you do to add to others’ lives or do for others, as a: parent/grandparent, spouse, volunteer, coach, mentor, employer, salesperson, homemaker, doctor, lawyer, expert, consultant, writer, manager, counselor, or confidant?
I still believe in the timeless “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” (more later on my choice to never be offended), but words (labels) can and do affect how we see ourselves and how people perceive us. Choosing to define and describe yourself by the positive things you do, rather than the negative things that happen to you, can bring huge positive results.