It’s human nature to dismiss things that we are not familiar with or avoid knowing something if it doesn’t benefit or apply to us.
I believe I was like that until NF2 hit me. At first, I didn’t bother to even find out more. NF2 complications usually started out mild. I lost my left hearing but was glad to continue living like normal with only one. “Living like normal” to me is living without heed to anything unusual; getting into a foul mood whenever things go wrong and not thinking through before doing anything. In other words, I was careless in making decisions. I also paid lesser attention to people who are under-privileged. Maybe because I cannot understand their plight.
After I went through hearing loss, I developed a deeper sense of compassion towards the disabled. Only then did I know how difficult it is to go about with lackings. Not being able to do something due to a lack of an ability really hinders me from being fully engaged, social-wise.
Now I know how it feels like to be the oddity. I also developed an understanding towards “normal people”. For example, when they are puzzled at how I can speak if I’m deaf. It just means that they have little to no idea that deaf people can speak. I realized too that a lot of people do not have a clear understanding of illnesses and disabilities because they are not exposed to it.
In a way, NF2 have allowed us to be appreciative a bit more and gives us the ability to have compassion for others. We value kindness a lot more and will always have the urge to explain things rather than dismissing them unless the other party have no interest to sit and listen to us. We understand others’ refusal to know more because it’s not something that resonates with them.
Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes is not easy when we don’t face the same issues ourselves. Therefore, we can only know how something makes us feel when it happens to us. And that is totally, okay. ☺️