Hey everybody, Ultimate Oddball here. Today I’m going to talk about the three practices that have helped me tremendously in life. Working on these things might also be beneficial to other autistic people, so I thought I’d discuss them here.
The first skill that I found incredibly important to practice is patience. All my life I’ve had issues with patience. My observation of time often feels terribly elongated, and in the past that’s lead to me being impatient, basically expecting that things happen when I want them to happen rather than in their own time. I often focused on what I wanted in a situation rather than actively practicing patience. Much of this was driven by frustrations and difficulties with whatever situation I was in, or with people, due to a variety of factors. As I got older, and worked at learning to be patient, I began to accept that everything happens in its own time, and that I’m not the center of the universe and life does not revolve around me. I figured out that I had to deal with things either way, so I might as well work at making it a little bit easier.
The second skill that was beneficial to practice was empathy. Growing up I often disregarded the feelings of others if I felt hurt by them or upset in general. If I felt attacked I would respond by saying things that I felt were fundamentally true, but were still hurtful or difficult to hear for others. I cared about how others felt, but not enough to prevent me from saying what I wanted to say if I was angry, and I was angry a lot as a kid it seems. I had a lot of trouble distinguishing my own emotions, and understanding the emotional drives of others, so this was something that I figured out early on I would have to put a lot of time into working on.
The third skill that helped me tremendously is humility. There have always been things that I found less difficult than the average person. I have a tremendous appetite for learning, and thus I tend to be pretty well read on quite a few subjects. In the past, I would often think things like “Why doesn’t that person get this?” or “How can they not know this?”. I didn’t think I was “better” than others, but I would tell myself how I was smarter than other people or nicer, or stroke my own ego in some other similar fashion. I didn’t look down on people, but I did think of myself as special for lack of a better word. Eventually I learned that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I realized that diversity is part of what makes life beautiful and keeps it interesting. I did my best to shrink my ego, and to always be humble, and I think it’s helped my interactions with others quite a bit.
Working on these things took years of dedication and effort, but it was ultimately well worth it. I let go of the negativity and the judgments that so many people allow to drag them down on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean I have it perfect. Every day I keep working at them. I continue to practice these things, to practice mindfulness, so that I don’t backslide into that negativity. Doing so has helped me a lot, and hopefully sharing this information can help others too.