Autistic Survival Guide/Self Esteem

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Positive things about being on the autistic spectrum[edit | edit source]

This is an extension of the Looking on the Bright Side section of Marc's book.

  • Being on the autistic spectrum means that any social skills you want to learn have to be learned manually rather than developing them naturally. You may find however that some of these social skills aren't particularly constructive and in this case it is possible to learn better social skills than non-autistic people have available to them, especially when socialising with other people on the autistic spectrum.
  • Being on the autistic spectrum means you are likely to have a different emotional range to most other people. While this may occasionally cause you problems in some areas Autistic First Aiders, Doctors, Emergency workers and Managers have found this to be advantageous in certain situations as they are able to continue to make good decisions in situations where NT's have become incapable of functioning, or at best have highly impaired judgement.

Ways to build self esteem[edit | edit source]

  • Fear is detrimental to self esteem.
  • Finding gaps in your knowledge and filling them or otherwise addressing them can lessen the fears associated with those gaps.
  • Fear can be a good guide to finding gaps in your knowledge.
  • Taking time regularly to meditate about recent events can be beneficial and dangerous too. XXX (anon65 - conflicting objectives)
    • A danger for autistic spectrum people that Marc Segars guide talks about is getting into circular reasoning traps. See the section on "self maintainance" for more on this, and how to avoid them.
    • Comparing recent events, good and bad, with what you would have expected to happen can teach you more about social interaction, or reinforce what you already know.
  • Having hobbies and engaging in personal interests is one of the best ways to build self esteem. The better you are at them, the greater the reward will be, but:
    • Be very careful to investigate and understand the dangers in your hobbies. Take safety seriously. There's no point in developing a skill today that you can't use tomorrow.
    • Don't let anybody force you into taking up a hobby.
    • Don't let anybody manipulate you into giving up a hobby.
      • People may try to get you to give up a hobby by saying that it is childish or dangerous or takes up too much time. There may or may not be some truth in what they say.
      • They may try to imply that YOU are childish or ignorant or dangerous for having your hobbies and interests. This is almost certainly wrong.
      • If you take your own safety and the safety of others seriously, then ignoring warnings is a bad idea.
      • In virtually all cases it is possible to negotiate compromises that enable a hobby or interest to be pursued, while avoiding its dangers.
      • People who keep coming up with new reasons why you shouldn't keep pursuing your interests and hobbies when their old reasons have been proven wrong and who avoid negotiation are almost certainly not trying to help you.
      • If someone is persistent in doing this, then there may be other underlying issues on their mind that need to be addressed. Finding out what they are and dealing with them can be an educational and rewarding experience.
  • Successfully helping someone else achieve something they need is an incredible self esteem booster.
    • When doing this involves sharing or developing your personal interests, it is even better.
    • It is possible to experience negative emotions from assisting people too. If you feel this happening, it's often best to reconsider.
    • Beware that placing yourself in danger to save someone and getting hurt yourself means that both of you need to be rescued, and this means that such an act can ultimately hurt the person you're trying to help, because you end up halving the attention the rescuers have for the victim.
    • Autistic spectrum people can succeed in learning the social games that people play with some effort, but are nearly always at a severe disadvantage. Therefore, developing interests that are useful to others is well worth the effort.

Ways to maintain self esteem[edit | edit source]

  • See also the "worrying" section in Marc Segar's Survival Guide. In particular, learning to laugh at yourself, and to recognise your mistake, apologise and just move on can save many a bad situation.
  • The single best way to reinforce self esteem is to know where to go to be safe from making mistakes that have ongoing consequences, and to know that you can get there. These can be places, behaviours, or frames of mind.
  • Having a reliable visualised understanding of the environment you are in that you can fall back on in times of distress can help a great deal to pacify overwhelming negative thoughts, and help you plan ways out of bad situations.
  • If your failures keep haunting you, knowing that you have learned as much as you can from them can help that stop.
  • Non-autistic people learn from experience this way anyway, so worrying excessively about possible future failure is probably overkill.
  • Faking self esteem can have its merits:
    • It means that you will be less of a target for social predators.
    • Being less of a target means your self esteem has more time to rebuild naturally.
    • A person who is supremely confident has no need to prove oneself and therefore has no need for ego. This is directly at odds with the idea that ego helps a great deal in the competition phase mentioned in the section "the art of self confidence".
    • A person who is supremely confident settles conflicts so that every party wins as much as possible and therefore has no need for aggression.
    • A person who is supremely confident has little to be scared of and therefore displays their more positive emotions rather than their negative ones.
  • There are also some thoughts about emotions in relation to maintaining one's self esteem.
    • It is necessary to let some negative emotions "radiate". If you don't permit yourself to do this sometimes, things can reach a boiling point and explode inappropriately.
    • Although autistic people seem to be incapable of reading the emotions of others, the emotions they express are VERY readable by others. The confusion others have in reading those emotions are in the fact that the emotions often don't make sense.
    • Fear and anger are emotions that are communicated across species, and between autistic and non autistic people. They are "reliable emotions".