😲 I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM!!! 😲
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? 🤔
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. 🧠 “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.” 🤷♂️
But even at the time I remember feeling like I didn’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. 👊 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! 😨
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. 😟 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!” 🤬
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. 🔮 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. 📖
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. 🤔
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. 😲
SO FOR A LONG TIME I USE TO LET OTHERS DICTATE HOW I WAS GOING TO LIVE MY LIFE…😔
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. 👍
📌 Dale Carnegie explained it through his principles to Win Friends and Influence People.
📌 Stephen Covey said it with his Habit of Being Proactive.
📌 The Stoics taught it through their principles of self-control.
📌 The Existentialists shared it through the creation of meanings.
📌 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. 🌎
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. 🙌
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! 🛣️
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! 😉
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. 👥
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.” ❤️
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. 🌎
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?! 👌
I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM; AN EXPLANATION, BUT NOT THE DESTINATION! 💪
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! 🙂
My areas of expertise include:
👍 Detail-oriented, Thoroughness
👍 Quality-over-quantity Focused
👍 Analytical, Systemic Thinking
👍 Emotional intelligence (plus 10 years in Customer Service)
👍 Social media, Building Engagement
With lots of gratitude,
Donald “Ace” Arteaga ❤️
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