Feb 20, 2012

Important Things That Guide My LIfe–Part 1

So, you may wonder, how do I keep from being an angry Aspie who melts down and rages at the neurotypical world.  Medication?  That has helped in the past, and helps many individuals.  Assistive devices such as a weighted blanket?  Use one at night.  Would look a little odd if I had it with me in the office.

Perhaps there is a therapist?  I always seemed better informed than they.  Do you count the many helpful individuals at church?  If so, then yes, they are helpful.

Alcohol?  Not for a very long time.  It’s a deceptive freedom that destroys my mind and offers a crutch to convince me that I am actually lame.  So are the many other options available for me to hide away in and numb my brain.

What sets me free from angry melt downs and places me on “upward” road to personal fulfillment?  My deeply held religious beliefs.

Sorry if that disappoints, but it is quite true.  Neurological and physical deficits not withstanding, there are emotional and personal difficulties that we Aspies face, because the neurotypical world seems so inexplicable.  The only way to face those difficulties is with powerful truth that reshape our perspective.  With a commitment to those truths, I am armed with a power to stand strong in my environment and not melt, not run away and hide, and not seek a mind numbing crutch after I get home.

I’ve committed myself to core affirmations, that I strive to live out at all times.  These affirmations are based in the Bible.

Here is the first:

All humans are made in the image of God. Today I will treat each person with commensurate respect and in doing so will reverence for my creator.

Genesis 1:27  “So God created man in His [own] image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Every person around me, no matter how they irritate me, is a reflection of the infinitely powerful, just, and loving God who made them.  He is the only God who exists, and deserve my respect.

Needless to say, when I respect those he has made, I disrespect the one who made them.  Also, if I am reverent toward God then I will also be reverent toward one who bears the image of that same God. 

Feb 17, 2012

Sprinkle Don’t Douse

Some one is quite warm and you mist them with a little cool water.  Very nice.  A bit refreshing.  Then you open up a fire hose on them.  Ouch.

We Aspies have a tendency to open up the verbal fire hose on folks when it comes to areas in which we have the most interest.  Perhaps we want to be exact in our description so we talk for 40 min to give what the neurotypical thought would be a five min answer or we are enjoying the feeling of disgorging our knowledge.

Regardless it just bores or irritates everyone else that has to listen.  It annoys the Neurtoypicals, because they didn’t want that much detail, and it annoys the other Aspies, because it’s not them talking.

I could recommend that you employ the 3-5 rule.  Three min. of talking alternated with at least 5 min. of listening.  Or the 3-Now Listen – Ask – Now Listen – Relate rule. 

That means

  • I speak for no more than three min
  • Listen to understand the key idea of what the other person is saying
  • Ask a question about what they are saying
  • Listen to understand again
  • Then, if I want to say something, it has to relate directly to what the other person was talking about
  • After that I can say something about another topic, but it should be something connected in some way and then I start the whole cycle over again.

This has helped me develop reciprocity in my conversations.  Conversations are successful when participants feel I value them enough to actually work to understand what they are saying.

If I just get to verbally unload everything in my brain on them, they feel like they are simply being used like a word barrel where I toss ideas. 

What is most helpful to me is when I evaluate my thinking and behavior in light of what the Bible says:

James 1:9  “…be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…”

The Greek word translated as “hear” has the sense not only of hearing, but considering and seeking to understand.  That implies that if I’m committing to be biblical in my listening to others, then when another speaks to me I ask enough questions and listen enough to come to an understanding that matches what they intended.

“slow to speak” points to a hesitancy to begin talking, but instead give a full amount of time to the other.  I should be slow to comment on what they are saying, but instead ask appropriate questions so that I have a sense of what is they are thinking.

I know, “But what about me!  I want others to hear what I have to say!”  As I listen and value other people, they will come to feel valued and want to hear what I have to say. 

Also, I have experienced that when I hold most of my comments and try to limit myself to when I have something really good to say, I still end up talking a lot, but have just excluded lots of things that bore other people.  Other times, I might purposely sit a listen a lot in a group, just to force myself to be quiet for a while.  I learn a lot, and usually end up talking anyway at some point.

Ultimately, I actually enjoy the conversation more as well.  Much better than when I do the knowledge dump truck.

It’s important for Aspies to remember that there is no tragedy if I don’t say everything I think about something.  In fact I do folks a service if I hold everything but the most important parts back.

Still, then most important thing to do, is to order my speech after concepts found in the Bible, and asses my behavior against that.  If I strive to love and value other people like God does, then I will want to know what is on their mind and what is important to them.  I will want to listen to them.