I have been struggling lately with my optimism and there has been negative thoughts that have come to play with my mind. This isn’t anything new with me, it’s a bad habit of mine. So when people try and either help or say nice things, I can’t take it in.
I think when people hear the word Autism, they instantly think of the generalized perception of it. I mean, no one ever says ‘congratulations, that’s amazing!’. So from the get go it’s focusing what is seemed as the weaknesses rather then strengths. I don’t think I ever remember a time when I would have been complimented when I was a child. Maybe about how good I was in a general sense, but that’s about it. I don’t think any of us in the environment I was in were any good at giving compliments, having said that we’re not very good liars so that somewhat balances it out! Girls are more likely to learn how to give compliments, because once again, women are taught to be nice for certain attention. I suppose you don’t think about those things when you’re a kid, you don’t quite develop the understanding in how socializing works until it becomes very important when making friendships. I would imagine making the suggestion that saying nice things about people helps. I did try I think, because I did genuinely care about people. But one thing I always noticed is that not alot would ever had been said back to me. I used to think ‘is there something actually wrong with me’. I had such an issue with validation, but never really knew how to confront it. Sometimes if I get sad about myself, Mum would always be the one that tries to not let me think like that. For example, I think I’m ugly, to which she freaks out and says I’m silly to think like that. Growing up, supermodels and particularly glamour models were massive and I hated myself because I didn’t look like them. At some point there was a discussion with myself and someone at the school in regards to the dreaded IEPs. I talked about how under-confident I was feeling and I think they did noticed that I am hard on myself, so it was decided that my daily goal was to take a compliment. It was also encouraged that other students would get a target to say something nice to someone else. Those students figured out that I had that target of receiving compliments and someone will say something nice about me or to me. It felt nice, didn’t want to believe it at first because my paranoia is messed up but I think people did generally care about me. Given the world that we live in right now, it is so vital that we have those reminder just to be nice.
I suppose the real issue is how we actually feel about ourselves. I don’t have a high feeling about myself, as I always say I am my own worst enemy. Sure you can easily blame anybody around you for either not making you feel valid enough or not standing with you. But if you keep blaming people for too long then you will eventually get stuck. I’ve taken the good and bad in every environment I’ve been in. Autism itself is certainly not an easy thing to live with. Once you know your trigs and dings are, you will get by. Life as a whole is not all bad, it’s those experiences that you will learn from. Sure I will forever have my issues with those that I felt disappointed by many, but you learn if there will ever be a next time. The way that I have to see myself now is knowing how much I have done in my life and look fondly at it. I have gone through so much and managed to achieve things that many would think that would never happen. Thinking that I will be a social burden for the rest of my life. Although it wasn’t a life that turned out what I first wanted, what I have got I will forever be grateful for. I still want to evolve so much, it’s rather difficult given circumstances still and how I can do this. I would like to travel more, I have been slowly working towards getting confidence in taking the train again and as much as I have been hating the amount of crowds, I am pleased with myself in my progress. I have to remind myself to give myself a pat on the back, even if it’s for the little things. Accepting compliments will still be something that I still need to learn to do, not to try and brush it off.
Just be you, Sarah x