How to Cope Being Physically Slow

Being physically slow in a society that values speed, agility, and dexterity can make for a trying time. Whether you are slow as the result of a disability, an illness, weight, or simply because you are less inclined to move faster, it is important to sustain your self-confidence through acceptance and assertiveness techniques, so that you can enjoy being around the faster people in your life.


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    Accept the situation yourself. If you feel that you are letting others down through your slowness, herein lies the seed of your own discontent and potential for putting yourself down. It is important to reach a place of self-acceptance, of all that makes you who you are today. If you feel frustrated with yourself, this can easily transform into irritability, suspicion, and grumpiness with other people, which will only compound the misunderstandings. Once you embrace the reality of your physical slowness, it is a part of who you are and you can feel a lot more comfortable explaining it and seeking the support of others.
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    Explain to people that going fast is difficult for you. Often people aren't aware of the whole picture until it is properly explained to them. Unless you have an obvious disability, they might assume that you are malingering or being purposefully slow. Explaining the situation to them can go a long way to increasing their understanding and acceptance.
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    Ask for help. Have you explored all the possibilities for helping you get around more easily? For example, asking your doctor, a mobility store, a hospital, etc., for options that might improve your ability to move around more comfortably in your daily routines might prove fruitful in at least easing the physical discomfort side of your situation.
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    Understand that societal expectations can be overwhelming at times but that these should not define your individual situation. While speed is all too commonplace in our busy societies, that doesn't mean you have to, or should be, trying to keep up. Take this as an opportunity to discuss with others the positives and negatives of always rushing here and there; put the question to them "Why is it so important to go so quickly?" and have the rushed people in your life reflect about this.
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    Make realistic changes to your routine. It is wise to do things at times that aid your needs rather than hinder them. For example, it doesn't make sense to subject yourself to rush hour on the sidewalks when you know this will cause you a lot of stress by feeling "in the way", or unable to hurry at all. This isn't about denying yourself anything; it's about making choices that will work for you to prevent you from feeling discomfort. Things you might consider include:
    • Avoiding going out and about in the rush hour or during busy visiting times at local attractions, stores etc.
    • Working out the best times to go to places when less people are around
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    • Finding and using the same comfortable places to go to where you don't feel rushed, crowded, or challenged, for example, finding a cafe that caters to slower dining, or an entertainment place that doesn't put a clock on the activities completion
    • Having an understanding buddy to help you go to places and help make explanations where you feel that you cannot
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    • Taking your cell phone with you wherever you go, with pre-set numbers of people you can call for help or reassurance if things go wrong when you're out by yourself
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    Get out and about. Don't stay at home worried about not being able to keep up with the rest of the world. Your needs matter as much as everyone else's and it is important for more able-bodied people to see less-abled people out and about in society. This increases awareness, acceptance, and to encourages people to support and understand.
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    Remember that you are not the cause of a person's negative reactions; they have a choice to perceive things in a more positive light. There is no reason why impolite responses from people who are agitated, pushy, bossy, and unhelpful should be taken on board by you personally. Impatience is not a virtue; it is a sign of a person needing to moderate their attitude and open their hearts to others more. Every person deserves to be accorded respect and having the courage to insist upon consideration of your needs in the face of negative reactions is to be applauded. Understandably, it is not easy to do this but if you practice assertive communication techniques, remain calm and polite, you will be holding up your end of the social bargain and keeping your own sense of self-esteem intact in the process.


  • Avoid arguing with unreasonable, over-heated people. Not only is like having a fight with a crocodile in that it will lead nowhere, their impatience and anger may cause them to lash out verbally or even physically, and your vulnerability in this respect is likely to be quite high. Knowing when to ignore the battle is as important as knowing when it is appropriate to assert yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Mobility aids, if appropriate

Article Info

Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence