August 13, 2015


SOME TIME AGO my brother and I were taking together about a difficult situation we encountered as children. We looked back, sharing old thoughts and feelings. As we began to describe how we felt our lives as adults had been impacted, my brother made a statement that stopped me in my tracks. He said, “The experience affected me, but it does not define me.”

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about my self-definition. If I allow unfortunate circumstances or negative experiences to define the balance of my life, am I not directing myself toward a confining and embittering future? If, by comparison, I see the same situation simply as one part of an unfinished story, I allow myself any number of perhaps unimagined possibilities.

Does CP, for example, define me? No, and it does not confine me either. I have to plan around it, but my goals and aspirations are neither diminished nor directed by it. CP is my challenge, not my master.

Rather than allowing some external force or circumstance to define me, I can define myself – by what I believe in, build my life around, and demonstrate to others.

My goal is to be defined by my faith, first of all, and by tenderhearted compassion, then by a hunger for interesting challenges and a zest for each new day.

My brother, I believe, has similar aspirations – and we continue to have some wonderful talks!

Post Submitted by Alan Flynn

Guest blogger Alan Flynn of Sacramento has cerebral palsy and grew up in a small farming community in the Midwest, the middle child in a family of five boys. He has two adult daughters and a new grandson. Through his writing, he hopes to challenge himself and others to reach new goals in every aspect of our lives and gain self-understanding and enthusiasm for the opportunities waiting for us. 


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