How AUTISM Helped Me DEFY the Odds! (PERSONAL)

๐Ÿ˜ฒย I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM!!!ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

I use to consider myself a very introverted person, very shy, and very set in my own closed routines. I was more of a thinker than a doer and more a dreamer than a leader. Can you relate to that? If not, can you think of someone in your life who was like that?ย ๐Ÿค”

Being diagnosed with Autism in 7th grade was probably the starting point for me, the point where I confirmed these ideas to myself about who I was: something was ‘wrong’ in my brain.ย ๐Ÿง ย “I have Autism. It explains why I feel the way I feel. It’s just something that’s a part of me; I can’t change it.”ย ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

But even at the time I remember feeling like I didnโ€™t want to be labeled like this. I saw the label before me with all its negativity, a label I needed to object and rebel from.ย ๐Ÿ‘Šย I saw the stigmas of this label becoming my reality, and once I started seeing it reflected in other people’s behaviors towards me it frightened me to the core!ย ๐Ÿ˜จ

I have vivid memories from school where I refused to accept new accommodations because of the new label. I was now being offered additional time on tests, opportunities to leave class to ‘cool down’, and every single time I refused. I was being treated differently. I hadn’t changed, but with my new label I had changed in the eyes of everyone else.ย ๐Ÿ˜Ÿย Has someone ever said something about you that you knew wasn’t true? Did you ever feel like you just wanted to jump on the defense and say: “That is absolutely NOT TRUE!”ย ๐Ÿคฌ

With my new label I was constantly reminded about my new-given identity: what I couldn’t do, what my limitations were, and what struggles I’d have the rest of my life.ย ๐Ÿ”ฎย Very little was I ever reminded about all my current strengths or what I could do. It was mostly the echoes from a set of diagnostic criteria.ย ๐Ÿ“–

In psychology, the term is referred to as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. In sociology, it’s referred to as the Labeling Theory. To put it simply: If a person holds a belief in their mind about someone else’s future expectations, the person will unconsciously help in influencing the other person into fulfilling those expectations.ย ๐Ÿค”

So for example, if a parent holds a child to very low expectations the odds are very likely the child won’t ever go past the ones the parent already set for them. They will only achieve the most minimal, the expectations set by the parent.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

SO FOR A LONG TIME I USE TO LET OTHERS DICTATE HOW I WAS GOING TO LIVE MY LIFE…๐Ÿ˜”

But then at one point I finally decided I was going on my own path. These past few years I’ve learned that everything starts with Me: I must take control of my life, how I choose to see it, and how I’m going to live it.ย ๐Ÿ‘

๐Ÿ“Œย Dale Carnegie explained it through his principles to Win Friends and Influence People.

๐Ÿ“Œย Stephen Covey said it with his Habit of Being Proactive.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Stoics taught it through their principles of self-control.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Existentialists shared it through the creation of meanings.

๐Ÿ“Œย Individuals like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. excelled it through their example.

It’s the power of helping OURSELVES FIRST before we start trying to help the rest of the world. It’s about taking CONTROL over our emotions rather than letting them and our environment control us. It’s about living our lives for a PURPOSE greater than just ourselves. It’s about a “dream”, a vision of a greater future for all of humanity. Most importantly, it’s about YOU DEFINING YOUR LIFE.ย ๐ŸŒŽ

What I’ve come to realize again and again is that my past does not have to equal the future. I’ve realized I am more capable than what any label or diagnosis will dictate.ย ๐Ÿ™Œ

Have you ever taken a personality test and it gave you a result you wholeheartedly believed in? “Congrats, you’re an INFJ!” The problem with these tests is they can tell you who you are NOW. But they don’t tell you who you’ll necessarily be in the FUTURE. We can change as well as mentally evolve. It’s a part of who I may be now, but it’s not the final destination!ย ๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ

I’ve realized that I ultimately will define Me, not someone else, not a test, and not a set of diagnostic criteria. Otherwise I keep a fixed identity for the rest of my life…nah!ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

So this year I’ve been on a mission to Transcend Labels. I am showing the world what’s possible, to show others how to look beneath the surface, past the labels, past the stereotypes, and to see each other for who we all are.ย ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

I truly believe when we do this we’ll start seeing the humanity within each other, see each other as human beings, and see that we are all more alike than we like to believe. With that not only comes greater understanding for our neighbors but most importantly an unconditional love, because the realization comes: “That person is also Me.”ย โค๏ธ

I see lasting change in the world happening through the individual from the inside-out, not the outside-in. I believe that the better we can be for ourselves, the better we can be for others.ย ๐ŸŒŽ

Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Everyone has an opinion, but there are fewer people out there who ever set the example. Will we be the next examples?!ย ๐Ÿ‘Œ

I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM; AN EXPLANATION, BUT NOT THE DESTINATION!ย ย ๐Ÿ’ช

I hope this resonates with many of you. I would appreciate it if you could share this post with others, whoever you believe will also benefit from these words. If there are any additional areas I can add value to your life as well as in the blogging community, please let me know!ย ๐Ÿ™‚

My areas of expertise include:

๐Ÿ‘ย Detail-oriented, Thoroughness

๐Ÿ‘ย Quality-over-quantity Focused

๐Ÿ‘ย Analytical, Systemic Thinking

๐Ÿ‘ย Emotional intelligence (plus 10 years in Customer Service)

๐Ÿ‘ย Social media, Building Engagement

 

With lots of gratitude,

Donald “Ace” Arteagaย โค๏ธ

.

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Why Self-Care is CRUCIAL!

๐Ÿ›‘ย ๐™„โ€™๐™‘๐™€ ๐™ƒ๐˜ผ๐˜ฟ ๐™€๐™‰๐™Š๐™๐™‚๐™ƒ ๐™Š๐™ ๐™‰๐™€๐™’ ๐™”๐™Š๐™๐™†!!!ย ๐Ÿ›‘

It was only 3 hours ago the clock hit noon.ย ๐Ÿ•›ย But I had already made the decision: Time for me to head out of New York City, and time for me to head back to my AirBnb in New Jersey to call it quits for the day.ย ๐Ÿ‘

Have you ever had a moment where youโ€™re in the middle of something and the realization hits you that you are BURNED OUT?ย ๐Ÿ˜ชย That moment hit me this morning!

I had gone back into the city to do some more sightseeing, and then…

๐Ÿšงย ๏ผข๏ผก๏ผญ๏ผ ๏ผฒ๏ผฏ๏ผก๏ผค๏ผข๏ผฌ๏ผฏ๏ผฃ๏ผซ๏ผ๐Ÿšง

I had been ignoring the messages my body was trying to tell me the past day.ย ๐Ÿ“ฌย But now they had reached the surface of my mind and it became clear as day: I needed to rest!ย ๐Ÿ˜ด

Reminding myself of the marathon tomorrow, I knew this was the best option. While you bet your bottom-dollar Iโ€™ll be at the starting line tomorrow, I canโ€™t be there with less than a half-tank of gas!ย โ›ฝ

๐ŸŒŸย ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐œ๐š๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ% ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ% ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž!ย ๐ŸŒŸ

So, Iโ€™m taking some Me Time the rest of the day. To introspect. To refocus. To be present again with my thoughts, away from the excessive noise of the city.ย ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™‚๏ธ

To be fair, Iโ€™ve heard over a couple dozen cars honking outside my window as I write this but itโ€™s better than nothing!ย ๐Ÿ˜…

If thereโ€™s one thing Iโ€™ve learned traveling so much is you need to make sure youโ€™re taking care of yourself.ย โค๏ธย When you travel, you are stepping outside your regular routines, adapting to your new surroundings, and that will take time. You may even at times be required to simply improvise.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐ง๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ’๐ซ๐ž ๐ ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ ๐ซ๐จ๐จ๐ฆ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐๐„๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ƒ๐Ž๐ข๐ง๐ .ย ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™‚๏ธ

Thatโ€™s why Iโ€™m back at my AirBnb now. ๐’๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ง๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฐ ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐จ๐ง ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐๐„๐„๐ƒ ๐ข๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐š๐ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐–๐€๐๐“.ย ๐Ÿ›‘

I got to tell you: it can be the greatest form of self-love you give yourself today!ย โค๏ธ

๐Ÿ›‘ย ๐™„โ€™๐™‘๐™€ ๐™ƒ๐˜ผ๐˜ฟ ๐™€๐™‰๐™Š๐™๐™‚๐™ƒ ๐™Š๐™ ๐™‰๐™€๐™’ ๐™”๐™Š๐™๐™†!!!ย ๐Ÿ›‘

Now that Iโ€™m giving myself the time to introspect, Iโ€™m able to take a step back and reflect since I arrived here. Iโ€™ve had some great moments in New York so far, especially ones with local friends of mine.ย โ˜บ๏ธ

But even more, Iโ€™ve experienced many opportunities for growth. These may also be referred to as โ€œproblemsโ€, but they only remain problems so long as you donโ€™t grow from them.ย ๐ŸŽ

As much as I may not have initially enjoyed experiencing these things, Iโ€™m grateful I did so I could learn from them:

๐Ÿงณย Not knowing how to fit my luggage through a trainโ€™s turnstile

๐ŸŽซย Not knowing how to purchase bus tickets

๐ŸšŒย Getting on the wrong bus, wasting a bus ticket I bought for another

๐Ÿ’ธย Rode a bus which only accepted cash and all I had was my credit card

๐Ÿ‘ฃย Not anticipating how much Iโ€™d use buses, trains, and my 2 feet to get around

๐Ÿฆตย Not anticipating how much my leg muscles would be aching after a single day

Perhaps some of you, my urban-dwelling friends, are reading this list and laughing at how trivial it sounds.ย ๐Ÿคฃย I donโ€™t blame you! I was raised in the quiet suburbs of Chicago most of my life, so I understand how silly these will sound to some.ย ๐Ÿ˜…

But this post isnโ€™t about throwing a pity party or talking to you about first-world problems. Itโ€™s to remind you that while we may at times purposefully take on goals which challenge us, like running a Marathon, weโ€™re always going to run into goals we never planned on taking on.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

๐ŸŒŸย ๐‹๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐œ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐จ๐ง ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ ๐ข๐ญ, ๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ซ๐๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐ข๐Ÿ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ โ€œ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฏ๐ž๐ง๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ญโ€ ๐จ๐ซ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

And our willingness to take on the goals we didnโ€™t ask for is where the greatest opportunities for growth will come in!ย ๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ

And so I lay here, in my AirBnb bed, thinking about all thatโ€™s happened. I smile looking back on it all, how my mind initially magnified those โ€œproblemsโ€, how I was aware my mind was magnifying them, and how I focused on solutions nonetheless. I look back and laugh.ย ๐Ÿคญ

๐Ÿย ๐๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎโ€™๐ซ๐ž ๐š๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐ฌ๐ก ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐ž, ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ฅ๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐ก๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐ ๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐ญ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ.ย ๐Ÿ

Soon after, youโ€™ll be asking yourself: โ€œSoโ€ฆwhatโ€™s next?!โ€ย ๐Ÿ’ช

How We Can LOVE More!

“If I ever forget to mention how much I appreciate you being in my life, how you’ve helped me become a better person, this post is for you.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

I may not always show it. I may not always say it. I may only show it in the smallest of gestures. I may only say it in the briefest of words.ย ๐Ÿ” 

So it’s why I write this post to share with you now. If I haven’t told you today, yesterday, or any day that I appreciate you in my life, let it be known now.”ย ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Let’s pay it forward right now!ย ๐Ÿ‘

๐Ÿ“Œย Tell someone how much they mean to you.

๐Ÿ“Œย Share with them why they’re important in your life.

๐Ÿ“Œย Let them know the qualities you admire in them.

๐Ÿ“Œย Acknowledge what they’ve done to help you become a better person.

๐Ÿ“Œย Explain about how different your life would be had you never met them. .

Lastly, tell them to spread the same message to one of their loved ones, friends or family.ย ๐Ÿ‘ฅ

Let this become a chain reaction of appreciation and gratitude!ย ๐Ÿ™

While we all get caught up in our everyday lives, staying busy and working hard, it’s easy to forget the Little Things, the connections that make us all human.ย โค๏ธ

Some people in this world have not heard appreciation from someone in a very long time. Perhaps you’ll be the first one to make it happen!ย ๐Ÿ˜Š

Why Not EVERY Voice in Your Head Matters!

“How could I be so stupid?!”ย ๐Ÿ˜ซ

“Why do I keep making the same mistake?!”ย ๐Ÿ˜ซ

“Why can’t I do anything right?!”ย ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

These are things I use to say to myself!ย ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ

Did you know we are our harshest self critics? There’s no one out there that can criticize and cause us as much mental stress as the critic within our minds!ย ๐Ÿง 

Why does this voice exist?!

๐Ÿ“ย It is the echoes of other people’s opinions about you. You believe these opinions, no matter how empty they are, have some element of truth to them.

๐Ÿ“ย It is when the expectations you hold for yourself are not met. Your survival brain doesn’t like change/uncertainty.

But here’s the #1 thing I want you to remember: IT’S JUST A VOICE!ย ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

๐ŸŒŸย You don’t have to identify with every voice that pops into your head.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

Throughout the day you’re going to have many voices come into your mind. But the best part is you don’t have to embrace every voice as fact.ย ๐Ÿ˜

If there’s anything meditation taught me, the mind is like the weather: it’s always changing from one condition to the next.ย ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™‚๏ธ

๐Ÿง ย Allow the Voice of the Critic to speak in your mind. Accept the criticism unconditionally (be indifferent). And pretty soon you will hear less and less of the Voice.ย ๐Ÿง 

In other words, there’s plenty more voices in your mind worth holding on to. Just not this one!ย โค๏ธ

How We Can POSSESS Our Beliefs!

๐Ÿ“Œย The Optimist believes in the best for the future. Therefore their mind tends to focus on hope and faith.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Pessimist believes in the worst for the future. Therefore their mind tends to focus on what’s wrong with the world.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Realist believes in seeing things as they are, not better or worse. Therefore their mind tends to focus on the facts, not the stories about the facts.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Cynic believes in the selfishness of others. Therefore their mind tends to focus on distrusting other people’s “good” intentions, regardless of the truth.

What do all these categories have in common? They are all ways of looking at life. I’m not saying which is more “right” or “wrong”; they just are ways of seeing the world. And each outlook will produce a different experience of living.ย ๐Ÿ™Œ

๐ŸŒŸย Our outlook constantly colors and shapes how we perceive life.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

Take an example of people who get in a car accident.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Optimist hopes the people in the accident are all okay.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Pessimist expects most, if not every person in the accident has died.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Realist measures the probability that each people in the accident will live or die.

๐Ÿ“Œย The Cynic assumes the people in the accident were intentionally careless or, perhaps, intentionally caused it to collect insurance money.

๐ŸŒŸย We don’t see life as it is. We see life as a reflection of our worldviews.ย ๐ŸŒŸ

Carl Jung talked about how ideas can possess people, rather than people possessing ideas. And when a worldview possesses a person, the person is no longer in control. The worldview itself speaks through the person.ย ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

Having beliefs and worldviews aren’t intrinsically bad. We all have them and need them to function. It’s when we lose our self-control at the expense of our beliefs and worldviews when they become a problem.ย ๐Ÿ‘

So how can we check if our beliefs and worldviews possess us?

๐Ÿ“ย Acknowledge most of our beliefs are not even our own. We’ve picked them up over time, had them conditioned into us by our environments, and embraced these subjective truths as our own.

๐Ÿ“ย Challenge our beliefs. Question how they could in fact be wrong. Dare our egos to poke holes in them, as much as our egos don’t want to. Question our ego’s need to hold onto them.

๐Ÿ“ย Seek other points of view that challenge our beliefs. It doesn’t mean you have to agree or support them. You can empathize with opposing beliefs and viewpoints and still disagree with them.