autistics speaking day: trust yourself

1 Nov

A major theme in my life has been learning to trust myself. When you’re autistic this can be a hard thing to do. I should start by giving you some background information. I have a very mild form of Asperger syndrome. I was diagnosed two years ago, when I was 26, so I’ve spent most of my life without a diagnosis.

I’ve spent most of my life feeling like something was off, but I didn’t know what it was. This can lead to an incredible sense of insecurity, especially for a young person. I knew that sometimes I did things that other people didn’t like or understand. Once I realized that I was not always acceptable, I started to feel that I couldn’t trust my own judgement. I thought, “other people must know more about these things, so If someone tells me I’m not acting appropriately I should believe them.” I went along in life with this mistaken belief for a long time and it hurt me.

In my adult life I’ve worried about relationships, walked on eggshells trying not to upset people, all the while ignoring my own feelings. When someone else got upset with me I automatically assumed it was because I was wrong and was bad at relationships. Occasionally this is the truth. We all make mistakes and hurt people’s feelings sometimes. But I was giving away my right to my own emotions. As a result I had low self-esteem, anxiety, and a lingering depression. In fact, it was making myself miserable which in turn had a negative effect on my relationships. It was a never-ending cycle.

Luckily, wisdom comes with time and reflection. I am realizing that I am allowed to feel how I feel. In fact, I should listen to those feelings because most of the time they’re telling me something very important. I have to make a promise to myself that I won’t let anybody else tell me that my feelings aren’t valid. And I have to allow myself to feel these emotions without fear that it will upset someone or make other people uncomfortable. I’m not saying that I should act upon every emotion I have; none of us should do that. But I have to listen to myself and use my own judgement.

This sense of insecurity can happen with any young person, but we must be especially careful with young people with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. The truth is there are certain things that we have to learn in order to interact with other people. Chances are we won’t act in the “socially acceptable” way all the time. We can learn social skills. But, it is imperative that this learning process includes temperance. We have to learn that when something doesn’t feel right it’s okay to say so. I had to learn that other people do not know what is best for me. But that got blurred by my intense desire to get other people to like me and my belief that they knew more than I did.

So, teach us how to start a conversation politely or how to make proper eye contact. But also teach us that we are unique individuals who have as much right as anybody else to express how we feel. It is important to accept constructive feedback from others, but we must not let other people decide how we should feel or what is in our best interest. We must have the confidence in ourselves to make these decisions in order to be healthy, happy people. And, we must stand up for those decisions, even when other people don’t understand them.

You are the only person who knows what is right for you.

Trust yourself.


11 Responses to “autistics speaking day: trust yourself”

  1. Bev Leroux November 1, 2011 at 15:15 #

    Happy Autistics Speaking Day, Britt!

  2. Bruce (born 2b me) November 1, 2011 at 19:51 #

    I really love this piece, Britt. It is beautifully said. I can especially relate to the second paragraph, and the whole piece is a great reminder to live true to, and honour, ourselves.

  3. Matt November 1, 2011 at 20:24 #

    This is so true, and I, too, always just assumed “others know more.” It took time to gain confidence in my own judgment, but better late than never. Thanks for writing this!

    • blackbird3398 November 2, 2011 at 21:09 #


      That’s how I feel too….better late than never. Sometimes I’m annoyed that it has taken me this long to figure it out!

  4. autismjungle November 2, 2011 at 03:12 #

    Happy Autistics’ Speaking Day!

  5. allison November 20, 2011 at 13:54 #

    What a great post. In a way, it’s probably much harder to have such a mild version of Asperger’s, because if it wasn’t so mild you’d be less aware of other people’s feelings about you. As it is, you’re caught feeling like you need to be able to speak a certain language while feeling like you can’t quite grasp the vernacular. Good for you for standing up for your own feelings.

  6. thingee November 27, 2011 at 13:28 #

    I think this is a fantastic description of what it is like to have a milder form of Autism. Trusting oneself comes with time, and hopefully without too many major disasters. It is so important to listen to oneself.

    • blackbird3398 November 28, 2011 at 21:13 #

      It’s one of my goals to try and convey what it’s like to have mild autism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: