If there’s one thing that fellow Spectrumites put on themselves to function on a daily basis, it’s pressure. It’s not like that kind of peer pressure that we deal with in high school, granted, but it’s still pressure. Any chink in our social armor makes us feel like little things we miss feel like it’s the end of the world.
Like Forrest Gump said about shrimping, figuring out neurotypicals can be so tough, even confusing. When they ask for something to be done, they can be so vague in what they ask and when they want it done. It can be like two completely different computing systems: like an old school Commodore 64 trying to work alongside a Dell Computer, things get lost in translation. Neurotypicals worry about getting things done, but pay little attention to new; innovative ways of doing things.
That said, I recently told a friend’s satire class that writers should be brutal in what they write, which is true because the truth can be brutal, but it’s also necessary, even if it’s uncomfortable. On one hand, being brutal gives us the ability to become better, as artists, chefs, painters, writers, singers or people in general.
But what about being kind? What’s wrong with being kind, encouragement, being compassionate to Spectrumites. I live in a very welcoming community, one that understands my quirks, but even things happen where things get lost in translation.I know that I’m working on my self esteem and self confidence myself and that any critique can feel like the end of the world, like what I’m doing isn’t enough.
In doing searching for this blog post, I came across Chris Bonnello’s article, Five Tips for Handling Low Self-Esteem ad Worthlessness from his site called Autistic Not Weird, the article is in the following link (https://autisticnotweird.com/self-esteem/) and it helped me realize that being kind or compassionate to Spectrumites can mean a lot in thier lives, as well as my own.
Here are the tips with my thoughts on them in order:
1. Play to your strengths.
“Wherever you find the opportunities – be it at work, or at home, or socially or whatever- learn what you’re good at, and do it. Even playing chess was a nice reminder that I wasn’t entirely useless, at a time when I felt the rest of the world was trying to convince me I was.”
This tip has helped me find a job that gives me the chance to give my abilities a chance to shine, specifically my ability to focus on details that others might miss, or may not feel is important. Knowing your strengths and using them to your advantage can be a great way to find success in your life without hiding whom you are.
2. Other people are allowed to be wrong too.
Blaming everyone else for everything is an unhealthy habit. But it’s equally unhealthy to blame yourself for everything. Take responsibility for the mistakes you make, but don’t pin other people’s mistakes on yourself. No matter how confident they look when having a different opinion to you.
I have a nasty habit of blaming myself for things aren’t done to others’ expectations, like I mentioned earlier, it feels like one thing not done can be the end of the world, but I need to think of the C64 and the Dell situation, where it’s a case of “no harm, no foul.”
3. People suck, but you do need them.
But that was how I felt at the time. A load of well-meaning people – casual acquaintances, mainly – would say things that they thought would help me, but actually made me feel worse..
But on the plus side, at least I had people looking out for my interests. Even if they didn’t quite know how to help.
Neurotypicals can be confusing, but those who deal with Spectrumites can be the best allies that we can have, something I know firsthand. Those who deal with Spectrumites can help us bridge the social gap that exists, helping us clear up misunderstandings and can be there for us during bad times, which leads me to the last two tips.
4. Just because you’re having a bad time doesn’t mean life itself is ugly.
When things were bad for me, the good in life was difficult to see.
5. The Future is not set.
It’s easy to not see a way out of your troubles. Partly because, if you endure them long enough, it becomes a part of your normality.
Life is a crazy and complex thing. At times it may seem stale and predictable, but it’s really not.
I’m combining these two last tips into one, mostly because they both go together, since one bad day, one thing where everything goes wrong can feel devestating for Spectrumites, but that’s not to say that things can’t get better from there, hard as it may be at that moment. No doubt about it, life in general can be crazy, zany and unpredictable, but I’m reminded of a 2007 Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille, spoken by the main character:
The only thing predictable about life, is its unpredictablity.
Just because life is hard doesn’t mean that you need to feel alone, especially if you have friends who like you for the person you are. I’ve been thrown some curveballs in my life, but with my friends and family, I’ve been able to move forward, it’s not been easy and it does take time, but don’t let minor misunderstandings feel like it’s the end, think of them as a new beginning to a better life.
It’s all right to try to be a better person; to strive to do better, I don’t want to overlook that point. By the same token, however, we should be as kind to ourselves as much as we are with our communities. It’s a delicate balance, one we should strive for everyday of our lives. Only by finding that balance can we function effectively in our societies, letting our voices be heard and never be afraid to let our light….