Do's & Don'ts
Ways to Love Me vs. Ways to Hurt Me.
Everyone has challenges and insecurities they have to face. Everyone gets bullied or is the bully. Everyone has things they have to overcome. It’s in the overcoming, where we grow stronger and learn how to navigate the world around us. It’s on my heart to end October and start November with some practical ways to love me vs. hurt me, the do’s and the don’ts. Most people have the best intentions. They want to love well and they mean the best, but sometimes the things they do or don’t do, can create a lot of hurt unknowingly, so this is my attempt to clear up any uncertainty.
- When you or your child notice me, say “Hello!” Take that moment to explain to your child how everyone is made differently and that’s ok. If you need ideas of what to tell them, LPA Online and Understanding Dwarfism are great resources.
- When you want to have a genuine conversation with me, get down on my level. There are ways to do so that aren’t condescending. I have no problem with someone grabbing a chair to sit on, kneeling, squatting, etc. in order to have a conversation. When the whole conversation is 2 feet above my head, it’s sometimes hard to jump in on the convo or even hear what is being said, especially if it is in a noisy room.
- My main love language is physical touch, so I love hugs. When you want to give me a genuine hug, get down on my level. Bend over, kneel, make some sort of accommodation. It can sometimes put me in a really awkward position when an accommodation isn’t made and I’m forced to side-hug your hips and crotch region. You may feel awkward getting down low, but it’s a lot less awkward than the alternative.
- If you see me searching for something way up high at the store or I look like I need help, just ask if I need help. I won’t get offended. It actually makes me feel loved when I don’t have to go way out of the way to find someone to reach something.
- Please don’t call me a midget, or use the term as an adjective to describe an object or person. It’s a hurtful word no matter how it’s used.
- Please don’t avoid me and make it obvious that you see that I’m different, but are doing everything in your power to make it look like you didn’t notice. Sometimes when you try to not notice that I’m different, it puts a huge gap between us and alienates me from society. I don't like to be avoided like something is wrong with me.
- Please don’t hush your children and put your hand over their mouth when they see me. It teaches them that something is “wrong” with me and it doesn’t feel very great when every step I take through a store, people are diverting young eyes away from me. It makes me feel like I’m a ‘reject’ or an 'eye sore' not to be looked at. I know that's not what you mean, but that's sometimes how it feels. You don't have to get embarrassed by your children's curiosity, we were all born curious. Instead, use those moments to educate your children and teach them that differences are wonderful.
- Please don’t point, stare, and laugh with your friends at my expense.
- Please don’t pet us or bop us on the head. You’d be surprised how this is a natural reaction for people to do. If you need to touch me, you can always rub my shoulders or give me a hug, but please no petting. We are not family pets or animals in a zoo.
- Please don’t try to pick us up. For some reason, people get the urge to pick us up whenever they want. This can actually injure our backs, so please leave us on the ground.
- Please don’t take our picture without our permission and/or blast it on social media. Behind that picture, is a person with feelings.
Some of these may seem obvious, while others not so much, yet they all happen. Overall, when you interact with anyone that is different from you, put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if I was the person on the other side of that hug, picture, or conversation?" Being aware creates an environment for growth, connection, and stronger relationships. We are all humans, longing for love and connection with others.