OBVI: Adjusting to Vision Loss - Phase Seven: Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteem
The "I like me" and the "I am somebody" phase.
Successfully meeting the demands of life does not necessarily result in, but certainly contributes to, positive self-esteem or self-acceptance.
A self-accepting person is one who has learned to accept all of his personal attributes, the strengths along with the limitations, the assets and liabilities. Self-approval and self-respect are all key ingredients of self-acceptance.
This phase often takes place after OBVI staff have worked with the individual. With newly acquired skills, self-acceptance, and self-esteem, the individual is ready to relate positively with others and build or rebuild relationships.
Maintaining acceptance is a continuous process for both the blind individual as well as the sighted people in his life.
The Role of Professionals
People with an understanding that an unfamiliar situation or trauma may temporarily pose a setback in the adjustment process are in a far better position to cope.
During this phase, OBVI staff can reassure newly blind individuals that they understand life can be as full and as rich as they want it to be. Defense mechanisms such as denial and repression are no longer necessary.
They will also discourage the "as if" or "if only" games, and encourage the cognitive (understanding and awareness) and affective (developing a positive attitude) components of the adjustment process.
For all the staff, instilling a desire to continue to grow in self-understanding and problem-solving skills will be key to a person's successful adjustment.
Finally, during this phase the individual is encouraged be less dependent on the OBVI staff and instead utilize his resources from the community.