Today is the international day of acceptance. Although this day was established in 2010,jan20_default_medium_2_compact this is the first time I have heard of this beautiful holiday. It is designated for people to publicly accept their own challenges and for others to openly accept one another for their abilities.

I worked for a local non-profit, The Arc of the Ozarks, from February 2014 till October 2017. This organization exists to support individuals with disabilities in directing their own lives as valued members of the community. Working with the clients and the community to support these individuals was one of the greatest blessings in my life.

While I should have known about this celebrated holiday during my time with The Arc, I am happy to see the efforts of organizations like theirs reaching new heights to raise awareness and promote acceptance. So many of the clients that I worked with at The Arc were painfully aware of their disabilities. However, they did not focus on the things they could not do.  Instead, they accepted those challenges and found ways to preserver despite those difficulties.

What I find so empowering about the individuals living and working in all our communities with disabilities, is their resilience. Unfortunately, you hear a similar story, from many, that from the minute they were born they were given limitations and timelines. Many were not expected to live past 5 or 10 years old and yet are thriving today in their 50’s.

I admire their ability to hear those words and learn of their limitations, but defy the odds. Imagine being told you would never be able to live independently or have a job your whole life. Imagine what that would do to your mind and self-worth. While today is an opportunity to publicly accept everyone for the unique abilities that help make them who they are, everyday is international acceptance day for individuals with disabilities.

Take a chapter out of their book the next time you have a pity party for yourself. The only way to make changes and progress is to accept where you are and find ways to grow. Let everyday hear on be international acceptance day for yourself and all those around you.

Learn more about The International Day of Acceptance.

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