What picture do we carry? No, not in one’s pocket or wallet, but in the eye of one’s mind. Is it one that has been frozen in time; an imprint from a bygone era, a specific day in one’s past where childhood memories once floated upon a cloud of dreams and wishes? Or, is it of more recent vintage – wrapped in layers of cynicism and denied opportunities, huddled in a corner where bitterness, wrongs and outrages of blames and byproducts of what others have “done” have emasculated and left that image we hold with disdain and dank disgust?
Where we are in life, at what stage we find ourselves; often, how we act and engage the world depends upon the image we hold of ourselves. It is, after all, the one person whom we have no idea about.
Oh, yes, we try and fool ourselves by claiming to know ourselves better than any other, and we do this because we are the only ones who have access to that “inner” soul that speaks soliloquys and bitter asides when we believe no one else is listening. But that is merely a subjective understanding of a subject that lives in the world of pure subjectivity; it is not, after all, an “objective” perspective and assessment of who we are. For that, we must turn a dispassionate eye in reverse-form upon the image we hold of ourselves.
In the end, are we anything more than the aggregate of a language we have learned, and the very usage of the language we have acquired, the sense-impressions we have encountered and the image we hold – is it any more or less than what others have of ourselves?
That is why, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to have a greater sense of who we are when we write that “Statement of Disability” on SF 3112A. For, SF 3112A requests certain and specific information about one’s self, the nexus between one’s medical condition and the impact upon one’s positional capabilities and essential elements of one’s job.
But the narrative we write should have a certain sense of objectivity about it, precisely because it is going to be some “other” person who will be reading it, assessing it and evaluating the sincerity and persuasive impact of the delineated discourse.
From that perspective, the image we hold of ourselves can be an impediment, precisely because it may not be an objective viewpoint, but one wrapped in the perspective of pain, turmoil, anger and despair, which is understandable, taking the medical condition into account. Perhaps, an advocate who has a more “objective” perspective – like a lawyer who is well versed in Federal Disability Retirement law — might be of some assistance in the process. Just a thought.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire