CONTROVERSIAL OPINION ALERT!
People with Neurodivergence shouldn’t have to tone themselves down for others….right?
This is a common assertion from many adults living with ND. I have a position on this issue many of those same people find upsetting.
You see, I don’t consider any of the characteristics of ND to be who I am. I consider them to be things my brain is doing.
I tend to talk louder and louder when I’m excited about a subject.
I tend to default to an all-or-nothing way of thinking.
My emotions can be all over, sensitive and intense at times.
I can be forgetful and scattered.
These are realities of the Neurodivergence I experience.
None of these are static qualities. I’m not saying everyone has the same degree of flexibility and potential. I’m suggesting folks not use the label as a defense against doing the work.
If you come to me and say you’ve tried as hard as you could and still struggle, I’m not going to argue with you. That’s not the point of this. Some people become paralyzed and learn to walk again, others don’t. Everyone has their unique circumstances.
Like any other human being we can learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.
One reason many adults may adopt the position that everyone else do the changing. Is because growing up we were usually the only ones (or so it seemed) being corrected.
We were encouraged to make adjustments for everyone else but they weren’t asked to meet us half way. That’s a mistake and must change.
As adults, I don’t see a path forward in reversing the unfair treatment we received throughout life and putting it back on others.
That’s the same all-or-nothing, win-lose thinking we know doesn’t work.
I have found greater success in pursuing a win-win with people.
Regardless of whether you have labels or not I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to acquire more knowledge and skill.
Is it fear of failure, criticism, rejection? I get it, I experience it, but I promise you, none of that has to stop you.
The solution to that isn’t to stay exactly how you are and expect everyone else to change so you can remain safe while taking fewer risks in life.
I’m working for an inclusive society where we recognize each others needs and seek a balance so those needs are met as best as possible.
Here’s an example of what that balance looks like. My tendency to talk loud when I’m excited about a subject is a result of poor self-awareness. I can improve that with mindfulness and feedback from others. And why wouldn’t I?
I ask others to help me monitor myself by saying things like, “I can hear how much you care about this subject.” Because I asked them to say that as a prompt, I know exactly what it means and don’t hear it as a criticism.
They help me which in turn helps them, win-win.
The alternative is to insist I be permitted to talk as loud as I do and expect others to deal with it. Cause I shouldn’t have to tone it down for them, right!
It’s a double standard to expect others to refrain from things that might overwhelm me while I reserve the right to overwhelm them.
I realize this is a complex, emotionally charged issue.
I also want to emphasize that I don’t believe I have the “correct” perspective on this, I’m just sharing how I think about it.
The way I approach it has led me to close, trusting loving relationships.
I’ve found greater peace, self-awareness, self-acceptance, compassion, you name it.
The very brain you’re looking to have acceptance for is also feeding you some lousy intel. That’s a reality, and needs to be considered.
Recognizing how pervasive all-or-nothing thinking is in your brain is a good start. It really muddies up your perception of things.
Then, working to find greater balance in your perception of things is how the world becomes a less threatening place.
That’s what I’ve learned and what I teach. With life changing results.