• If people stare at you, look back and smile. It is part of human nature to be curious, and they don't necessarily mean anything by it.
• If you do get positive feedback, put that in your self esteem bank for later when you might be having a difficult time.
• Do not define yourself by your lost limb. If people have a negative reaction, it is not personal toward you.
• It is natural to feel repulsed upon first seeing the absence of a limb, even when it's a loved one or romantic partner. Neither one of you should feel ashamed by this, and know that it does pass.
• There are tremendous resources available on the Amputee Coalition website. Educate yourself as much as possible, so you can be open to discussion if it arises.
See someone showing their mettle?
Peggy Chenoweth has some advice for those who may have questions for people with limb loss.
• Take their lead. If a person seems open to questions, you may ask them politely. Otherwise, just leave them alone.
• Don't conduct the Spanish Inquisition. Let the person share whatever they're comfortable with, but don't press. Not everyone is at the same place in their journey, and they don't owe you a story.
• For goodness' sakes, don't make fun. Within the community, a good sense of humor is necessary for survival and we'll make plenty of jokes -- but that doesn't mean you are free to as well.
• Don't tell them what they "should" be doing. Yes, Oscar Pistorius has those cool sport legs. Those cost a lot. The most basic prosthetics are almost a luxury item for most people and often aren't covered by insurance.