Mindsets and jelly moulds

jelly mouldI was thinking about this word ‘mindset’ and how wonderfully it describes the foundational thoughts in our lives that bed themselves down and set, like concrete. They determine how we see life and are created and re-enforced by the values, the culture, and the experiences in our environment in which we grow up. I think that education is meant to challenge our mindsets and prod at the possibility that the world could be different to how we perceive it.

Changing our mindsets is much more difficult than changing our minds.

It is very comfortable and securing to do the same thing the same way everyday as it takes away the necessity to make a deliberate choice. Doing routine tasks in a new way can be very taxing and stressful. Some people even get upset or put out when someone sits in their usual seat at their favourite coffee shop or in church. Silly things that don’t have any real importance become a stabilising comfort to us. No wonder it is called ‘set in my ways’.

Changing our minds is like putting different flavours of jelly in a mould, but changing our mindset means we need to identify the mould and choose a more beneficial one.

Related to low vision     

It is for this reason that when a person starts losing their vision progressively, it takes a lot of emotional energy to carry on doing what they have always done, but in a new way. It is especially challenging for older folk as they have done the same things in the same way for so long. It is stressful and sometimes frustrating, but if you change your mindset by breaking up that foundation of understanding how life ought to be, the limitations are removed and each difficulty can be seen as a puzzle waiting to be solved. We need to be flexible in our expectations and open to creative solutions for seemingly insignificant tasks. One example is, trying to put toothpaste on a toothbrush….because that’s what we do twice a day (hopefully). For those who don’t know, you have to hold the brush so close to your face and it is difficult to aim the white paste onto the white bristles without flicking some into your eye. Why not just put the toothpaste straight into your mouth.

I was finding social interactions more and more stressful because my ability to see faces had deteriorated quite substantially over the previous four years and I had been bumping into things and ‘losing ‘ things a little more often than in the past. All my life I had tried to not stand out as being abnormal in any way. In hindsight, I was not doing myself or others any favours. I identified my mindset as: ‘fitting in is a way to look competent’, then I chose to change it to ‘who needs impressing? ‘I needed to address my own needs above what I thought others might think. This meant picking up my white symbol cane. It was difficult at first because I knew that people would respond to me according to their mindset towards a disabled person – avoidance because of lack of experience or fear of me being a beggar, pity and condescension or glorifying me as some sort of saint. I decided to go ahead anyway and if people see me out and about with my cane, identifying me as having vision problems, then maybe that can challenge their mindset as to what a vision impaired person is supposed to do…. and I just call it an on-the-go public awareness campaign. I appreciate my family supporting me in this community education.

I challenge other low vision sufferers to embrace their needs and set yourself free.

Happy setting

6 thoughts on “Mindsets and jelly moulds

  1. Oscar Dandelion

    Yes, we all need to be open to adapting to different ways / situations. I’ve learnt a lot about that when I lost the ability to walk normally (only able a few steps on a good day). I’m still a young woman but for a long time I was able to walk normally, and without this severe chronic pain. On the other hand I’ve met several seniors who are ashamed at that aged bodies that need, instead, kindness and understanding…and in some cases, aids (wheelchairs, walking sticks etc.). I say we should look at those various aids as blessings, because without them life would be so much harder. All the best to you 🙂

    1. jenniferawebster Post author

      I agree and that is where I think we can be so grateful for the variety of ‘megafters’ that are available theses days. I wouldn’t be able to do this without all the technology I use to see… And I am priveledge to have access to. It sounds like you have to make brave choices in every waking moment. Your story makes me grateful for my body. Well done, keep at it and thanks for your reply.

  2. Ruth Holmes

    Another wonderful piece of writhing Jen, possibly your best. As I grow older I’m amazed at old people like myself that won’t use a walking stick on uneven ground or when they obviously need it. When I went to South America I took my walking stick with me because I have a dicky knee and when on uneven ground or trying to get up or down steps I can easily fall due to a netball injury from schooldays. Because I had the walking stick, the wrinkled face and the white hair (nearly everyone in Sth America has black or dyed black hair), everyone helped or encouraged me because they thought I was about ninety instead of in my early 70’s. Spunky young guides would say “Gee you walk well for your age as they helped me across a creek or up a steep uneven path on our hikes”. This meant I had an injury free & enjoyable trip. I love being helped.

    1. jenniferawebster Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement Ruth. I am so glad you are one of the brave ones… . keeps you mobile and independent. I think we’ll rename you ‘the galloping granny’ and then try and keep up with you:). We both admire your energy and send lots of love.


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