I’ll be honest and say it took me a long time to deal with people staring at my face – too long.

Of course I’m not alone. Many others with a facial or bodily differences take many years to make that adjustment. But some never come to terms with their face or body and how people objectify them.

This is a difficult subject for anyone whether you are living with disfigurement or encounter someone who has facial or bodily differences. I have come to realize that most people do not know how to act when they encounter someone who is different and do not realize the pain that staring causes.

For many of us with differences, it takes courage every day to step out in public and taking the chance of negative encounters. Some of us have had too many negative encounters which caused social isolation like I did for longer than I would like to admit.

Others asked what they should do if they met someone whose face or body is, well, different. I hope the following advice will be of some help.

How you should behave

1. If you meet us for the first time please don’t ask us what happened our faces.  We would like the opporutnity to get to know you first.

2. Make eye contact to validate us as a person of value instead of staring at our facial or bodily disfigurement. I know this will not be easy.

3. Please don’t call us names,  abuse or bully us. This happens more thatn you think.

4. Treat us with the respect and consideration you would expect to receive yourself.

5. Smile and say hello. It helps us relax and feel less self-conscious.

Easing the pain

This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it’s a good start. These 5 timps will help make life easier for the facially and bodily disfigured individuals who are struggling to lead a ‘normal’ life.  If people are positive and accepting when they meet us for the first time, it will help change our perception of ourselves.