“The (International) Day of Acceptance is a valuable social entrepreneurial awareness experiment with a heart-warming backstory.
Annie Hopkins founded 3E Love to make the world a better place, also creating the International Symbol of Acceptance, which shows a wheelchair in the shape of a heart. Together, the occasion and the symbol communicate the 3E Love ethos of devotion, equality, respect and understanding, to be adopted and appreciated by people of all abilities.
Disability owned and operated, 3E Love works to empower people through pride and passion, rather than charity. Taking control, following our dreams and being the best we can, regardless of physical factors, makes us what we are, and Annie’s goal to share this with as many people as possible has proved a source of inspiration all across the world.”
This day is especially resonant with me because I grew up with family members with disabilities. My maternal grandfather wore hearing aids but was so adept at reading lips that most people didn’t know he was effectively deaf. My uncle had polio as a child, which resulted in paralysis of his left side and left him with one lung. My grandparents had to fight for him to be accepted into college despite the fact that he was brilliant; he went on to become a well-respected educator. My cousin was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident with a drunk driver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people talk loud and slow to her just because she’s in a wheelchair.
People with disabilities are not to be pitied, ignored, treated as fragile, nor mocked. We are all human beings with strength and frailties, good days and bad.
Ways to Celebrate
- Embrace who you are. Love yourself with total acceptance. Be grateful for what you can do. Encourage others to do the same.
- Be empowered. Find your voice and use it to make a difference in the world. Equally important is to truly listen to the voice of others.
- Educate yourself and others (these examples are primarily for my fellow yoga teachers and practitioners). How would you practice yoga without the use of your arms? Your legs? Your sight? How would you teach yoga to someone who is deaf? A great way to see what it’s like to have reduced lung capacity is to do a practice breathing only through a straw. Things we take for granted in our own practice can be viewed in a whole new light
- Love life. If you don’t like something in your life, change it if you can, accept it if you can’t. Welcome the good and the bad. Let go of attachments. Be present.
In love and peace,