It’s Ok Not To Be Ok!

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“People with Down Syndrome are Always Happy”.

Wouldn’t that be wild if that were the case? Individuals with Down Syndrome are not always happy. (insert gasp) really?? Try to take a guess as to why this is not true, go ahead I dare ya. This week’s ability is the ability to not be okay.

Why aren’t people with Down Syndrome always happy? Because… they are HUMAN! That’s right, you heard me. They are human beings, just like you. Don’t get me wrong, Aaron is fairly happy 99.9% of the time, however there are moments where his humanness rears its gorgeous head. I think this is a pressure so many of us face, or at least I do. This pressure to always be “great!” can be quite exhausting. I don’t necessarily believe this is a pressure from the outside world, rather it is a pressure that comes from within. If we are honest, how will people react? Will they still be our friends? Will they still pick up our calls? Vulnerability is one of the scariest mountains to climb however the reward is something few words can describe. Through vulnerability comes connection. When we can share that what is most “shameful” or “embarrassing” we provide others the opportunity to recognize they are not tackling this life alone.

The reality is, everything is not “okay” all of the time 24 hours 7 days a week. If everything was okay all of the time, we would be robots… and even robots malfunction. There is a beauty few words can describe when Aaron faces a mountain that seems to steep and overcomes through willingness to be vulnerable about the climb.

Recently, Aaron was experiencing severe pain. A pain that was challenging for him to find the words to articulate the discomfort. He voiced frustration, disappointment and straight up anger… and it was absolutely breath taking. Please don’t get me wrong, I would never in a million years wish to see him in pain. However, seeing his ability to scream it out and express the most raw of feelings was extraordinary. It reminded me that sometimes life throws us hard balls (insert a lets make lemonade out of lemons quote) but really, life can be tough but that does not mean we have to be the world’s toughest warrior. Strength comes when we can admit feelings of defeat and open our hearts to the possibility of help through vulnerability and connection.

Sure, most of the time you see someone with Down Syndrome they may be happy. However, I believe this is due to the deeply embedded ability to make everyone’s life better by simply being in it… that will have to be another post. Until then, get out there and see the similarities over the disabilities.

Seeing the similarities over the differences is the heart’s greatest ability.

If you or someone you know has a story they would like to share about their experiences, please contact theheartability@gmail.com

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Don’t Should All Over Yourself

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I have never once heard Aaron say, “oh man, I should have done XYZ” OR “I could have done XYZ better”.

The man has the most beautiful confidence, not the egotistical type of confidence. The confidence that stems from faith in his abilities and his choices. I have never witnessed the man live in fear or doubt.

This is one of his abilities that I struggle to understand. I am sure I am not alone on this one… We hear all too often in the workplace, the home, and schools “I should have studied more, I should have talked about that in my interview, or I should be a better person”. My question is, who in the world was the one to set the bar for these “shoulds”??? I go back and forth on this one. Is this a societal issue? The weight of the world? OR are these “shoulds” an internal pressure we place upon ourselves to obtain expectations we wouldn’t even put on our worst enemy.

If we eliminate the words shoulda, woulda, coulda from our vocabulary what would we be left with?

Drumroll please…

We would be left with DO!!!

That’s right, DO! Maybe Nike was on to something with “Just Do It”.

Every single day, Aaron lives in the DO. I am not sure I buy that this is a conscious decision he makes every morning upon awakening, I think the ability to DO is intertwined into every fiber of his being.

Now, sometimes this can be frustrating to the outside world (myself included) when Aaron just wants to DO DO DO. For example, “lets go get a coke at McDonald’s” or “lets go to party city”. Those are the types of “DO” that can ultimately be frustrating…especially after you just went to the gas station to bring him a coke or you went to party city yesterday (and the day before) and no they still do not sell the green clacker he is tirelessly searching for.

The DO I find infectious is his natural born talent to DO kind things, DO loving things, and DO the next right thing. This is what I like to call his internal DO. Contrary to the external DOs these do not include running around searching for tangible items that have not been made since 1999. These are the DOs that can change the world.

There is not a should, could, or would in Aaron’s vocabulary. He simply does. He gives life his all with zero expectations and zero regrets. He trusts that what he does is enough, because for him it is.

This is possible because he denies the pressure of outside expectations. He declines the internal dialogue so many of us are plagued with that becomes all too consuming with self-doubt. He trusts that all mighty gut of his and simply does the next right thing.

When we eliminate “should” from our internal dialogue we have the ability to view ourselves and in turn others through the lenses of love.

Now please, don’t should all over yourself this weekend. Get out there and DO.

Seeing the similarities over the differences is the heart’s greatest ability.

If you or someone you know would like to share their experiences about seeing the similarities over the differences please contact theheartability@gmail.com 🙂

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