In a hearing world, deaf teens can feel constantly confronted by their deafness. Since the world is set up for hearing people, a multitude of things in day-to-day life can be frustrating and alienating. Being able to counter this and cope with this requires a level of resilience, but building resilience takes time.
How to Build Up Your Resilience
Being resilient is a skill that has to be practiced. Everyone feels fragile from time-to-time, and everyone has issues that they need to cope with. By being mindful about building your resilience, you can reduce (or even eliminate) some of the negative emotions that you feel.
- Understand that resilience isn’t the same as stoicism. You can be resilient and still endure the emotions that you feel. You can be sad, frustrated, angry, and upset, but still be resilient. Resilience simply means that you are able to recover — and it doesn’t mean that you don’t feel anything at all.
- Avoid trying to be the best at everything. Feeling vulnerable can lead to being extremely competitive. Over time, that damages your resiliency and your confidence, rather than building it.
- Learn to accept that bad things happen. Life can be unfair, but as long as you’re able to get through the bad, you can find the good as well.
- Connect with other deaf teens. By connecting with other deaf teens, you can learn new coping strategies, as well as interact in an environment you feel comfortable in.
Every teenager has something that they’re upset about, and something that makes them different. While being deaf can feel alienating, it’s also important to recognise that everyone is fighting their own challenges, and that it is possible to overcome.
Achieving Success as a Deaf Teen
What does it really mean to be successful? Being successful means being happy and satisfied, and excelling at the things that you love. For many people, simply being happy makes you successful.
- Find something you have a genuine interest in. Whether it’s an academic study, an extracurricular program, or just a hobby that you can do on your own, you can’t excel until you know what your goals are.
- Don’t compete with your friends. Everyone is unique and different. What you’re good at may not be what they’re good at, and vice versa. By comparing yourself to others, you may always feel like you’re coming up short.
Deaf teens may feel as though they have the cards stacked against them. However by interacting more with other deaf peers, it’s possible to reduce the amount of impact deafness has on your life. After all, deafness is only a problem in a world that caters to those who can hear.
Watch a video of one of our mentors, Cassandra. She talks about not trying to compete with her friends, finding her own way, and having the confidence to cope with both the usual challenges faced by teens and the additional obstacles presented by gradually losing her hearing. Watch Cassandra’s story here.