Today I was asked the question: “What do you think are the beautiful aspects of your autism?” I think this is a very nice question! Especially because a lot of people don’t think about their positive and beautiful sides. It’s a question that made me think about myself and look at myself in a good way. Maybe it’s a question we should ask ourselves more often. Not specifically as an autistic person, but as a human being. What are your good sides?
But in this case it’s specifically about my autism. Not autism in general, because I certainly can’t speak for all autistic people. But for myself I can answer this question.
To see the beautiful sides of yourself, you need a dose of self-knowledge. Insight into who you are, what you do and how your thought world works. The past few years I have been busy getting to know myself and exploring myself. A kind of soul searching you could say. However, for me this was not a spiritual experience, but rather a rational determination of norms, values and boundaries.
Different than usual
A beautiful side of my autism is that I’m different from other people. Of course every person is unique, no person is the same, but because I’m autistic it goes a step further with me. It may be difficult for non-autists to understand this, but autism influences behaviour and thoughts in a very fundamental way. It not only colors the world in a different way, but also lets me experience the world in a different way.
Partly because of that power I can see situations in a different light. And come up with other solutions. Solutions that seem very logical to me, but that people don’t think about easily. I can also sometimes see humor where other people don’t see it. Because I am an image-thinker, and therefore see some of people’s remarks literally happening in my head, I can sometimes laugh heartily at something that is not funny or at least not meant to be funny. In my eyes those things can be very funny and make me laugh sometimes in cases that this is not entirely appropriate (according to neurotypical people then).
Although it is sometimes difficult to be a little further away from my emotions than neurotypical people, it also offers advantages. I find that I am good at thinking rationally about situations and challenges. This is not to say that I am emotionless or distant (although it can sometimes seem that way), but my first instinct is to think about things from a rational point of view. Usually this works very enlightening for myself and people around me. I myself find this a very nice side of my autism. It allows me to act clearly and quickly in situations where urgency is required, and where others are often overwhelmed by their emotions.
It has also taught me to distance myself from situations. In conflicts between people, where I am on the sidelines, I try to look beyond the emotions and base my opinion on the facts. This is alternately successful, but usually I am better able to look at a situation objectively than someone else.
I have become very aware in recent years that this part of my autism certainly does not occur in all autistic people. As I wrote before, this is part of my autism and not in general.
Self-knowledge and acceptance
. Over the years I have learned to look at myself and embrace myself as I am. After all, I have only guaranteed myself as long as I live. It has taken me a very long time to get to the point where I am now and how I look at myself now. Not always have I looked at myself in a positive way. In the years that I had no diagnosis, I became more and more negative. But since then I have learned to look at myself and accept myself with all my peculiarities. By seeing that I am the way I am and that I am allowed to be there with everything that I am. I don’t see autism as my limitation, but as a foundation of my person.
It has helped me to discover my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses. By focusing on things I can do and where I have an advantage over people around me, I have become a lot more positive. Not only about myself, but also about the world around me. I try to stand in my power as good as I can. And I have little message for negative people who want to label my autism as a problem for me. That’s up to me, thank you.
My hope is that other autistic people like me will learn to look at themselves and see their strength instead of their problems. This is not to say that they should ignore their problems, but it’s a lot nicer if you like yourself. Like I said, you only have yourself guaranteed your whole life.