I mentioned last week how death and taxes are certainties in this world according to Benjamin Franklin. According to the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, the only thing constant in this world is change. In other words, the only thing that will remain unchangeable…is change. As the sun rises and sets daily, as people are born every day and die every day, and as each and every one of us attempts to find our place and purpose in this life, change is happening all around us as well as inside of us.
Speaking from experience, people with autism tend to lack variety (eating the same foods, watching the same shows, wearing the same clothes, playing the same games, etc.) and often have difficulty embracing and accepting change. Adapting to new situations and ever-changing circumstances, sometimes unexpected, can be a nightmare for someone on the autism spectrum…like the world is coming to an end! Whether it is getting used to an activity or routine, settling into a new job or position or finally knowing how things work only to find out that the process will have to be redone all over again and/or in a different way. It is natural to want to stay in your comfort zone, with or around things that are simple and familiar…however, it is OUTSIDE the comfort zone that allows for personal growth and a better quality of life!
Have you ever heard the saying “no risk, no reward”? This has to do with stepping out of your comfort zone in an effort to develop on a personal level. You will not get the job if you do not fill out the application and interview for the position. You will not get a girlfriend if you do not go up to her and talk to her. You will not move out of your parents’ house if you do not look for another place to live. These are just some examples of the things that I have done and continue to do to make my life more productive, more exciting, and more fulfilling. Want to hear the best part? You can do these things for yourself as well! It all starts with one step…outside of your comfort zone. Why? This encourages the learning process and allows for the inevitable change to take place that will ultimately make you the person you want to be and allow you to do the things you want to do.
Stepping out of your comfort zone also allows for the possibility of friendships which is something that all people, whether you have autism or not, strive for all of their lives. People would rather see someone stand up and do something rather than see someone sit down and do nothing. Fostering the courage in yourself to take the risk and do something you otherwise did not think you were capable of doing is something others will observe and respect about you. Even if taking the risk doesn’t work out for you at first or at all, others see that you believe in yourself enough to take action in the first place. That is something to be proud of in itself. As an added bonus, these same people that saw you step up will be the ones to help you back to your feet when you fall down. In short, being open to change helps you make friends.
Still thinking you can’t cope with change or that you are going to resist it at all costs? Believe it or not, by the time you were finished reading that question, some change took place…likely without you even knowing it or thinking about it. Case in point, our skin sheds tens of thousands of cells per hour…so in the five or so seconds it took you to read that question, your body lost a few hundred skin cells. Do you feel any different? Is the world over as you know it? Did you even think about it happening before I told you about it? This change in your physical being is one small and realistic example of change that is happening all around us and why fighting change or hoping it will stop will only eat away at your happiness and well-being. When I accepted that change was a part of life and that I could become a better person from it and actually make life’s changes work in my favor did I really take the bull by the horns (not literally, of course) and start living the life that I want for myself.
Speaking of ‘literally,’ my next blog will go over how humor and learning about idioms (such as “the cat is out of the bag”) can improve how you relate to others. I hope you will tune in!