Autism Is My Super-Power

Here is an excerpt from my new book called “Autism Is My Super-Power.”

Unedited Version

 

I had become so obsessed with social skills coaching and learning social skills because I was so fixated on the fact that autism was a social disorder that could only be helped or fixed with social skills coaching that I did not even respond to counseling or any other forms of treatment for my autism.  There were so many people trying to give me advice and trying to help me with my life but I could not even notice that they were trying to help me because I was so stuck in deep depression.  I was so fixated on the bad that there was not even a remote possibility that there could ever be anything good in my life.  I wish I had so many years of my life back because if I could change the way I thought back then then I would have gained so much more happiness in life. But, that is okay because now I have been able to change my thinking and stop fixating on things that I thought or believed would cure me from autism and I can focus on the beautiful things that autism puts in my life and see so many positive and happy things about autism. 

What I once thought was completely a social disorder that no mental health treatment could ever possibly help with is now something that I see as a distorted thinking disorder more so than a social disorder. 

The older I get the more I see that there is less importance on social skills and more importance on how we think.  If we can control our thinking and have positive thoughts about who we are and what our life is like then there are great chances that we will be happy people who attract a lot of other happy people.  But if we are constantly sad and depressed it will be so much harder for us to attract other happy people because happy people want to be with happy people who help keep their spirits up and do not always want to spend their time with people who are unhappy and might bring their spirits down.

I once thought learning social skills was the only way to change my thoughts.  People kept trying to talk to me about changing my thoughts and I could not understand why people were trying to get me to change my thinking without changing or improving my social skills.   To me there was a direct relationship between my social skills which in my perception were broken and the thoughts and beliefs that I had about my life.  I did not always see that you could change your beliefs without changing the social skills because I thought the beliefs were born from the social skills.  This is one aspect of mind blindness that I have struggled with for years. 

Sometimes I am a stubborn person and once I believe something it is really hard to convince me otherwise.  I self-sabotaged a lot of my social relationships with not only my peers but with autism professionals over the years because of my stubborn beliefs that prevented me from creating the happiness that I had always deserved to have in my life. 

My super-powers that I now relate to autism were so covered up by my stubbornness and ability to hyper-focus on the negatives in life instead of focusing on all of the great and positive things that were happening in my life.  More so than I needed social skills training my brain needed training on how to restructure my thoughts and form more positive thoughts about myself. 

When you do not know how to create positive thoughts or challenge distorted thoughts you are creating this delusional perception of who you are as a person.  If your beliefs are telling you that you are a bad person then you are really going to think you are a bad person when in reality you are a good person but your beliefs about who you are as a person are distorted and preventing you from seeing who you really are as a person.

The same is true when it comes to autism.  When your beliefs about autism are so that you think autism is a negative thing and something that prevents you from having the life that you have always wanted to have then you are going to see autism as something to blame for preventing you from having the life you have always wanted to have when in reality you are the reason that you do not have the life that you have always wanted because you are choosing to believe things about autism and yourself that are not true and when you focus on the negative all that does is bring you down and prevent you from even trying to improve your life or your thinking.

My belief that autism had ruined my life pretty much prevented me from using the super-powers of autism to create the awesome life that I have always wanted.  It is such an intriguing concept to grasp, but our beliefs about life and who we are as people really do create our reality of life and the reality of who we are as people. 

By no means am I saying that it is as simple concept to just believe positive things and be happy.  There will always be negative things that come up and challenge our positive beliefs in life but the more we practice mindfulness and turning negative beliefs into positive ones the more natural it becomes and eventually you will be able to spot a negative belief coming on long before it even comes on and you will already be challenging it subconsciously in your mind before the negative thought ever even surfaces thus you are preventing the negative thought or belief from occurring before it ever actually occurs.  When you are able to do this you can truly appreciate the happiness of life and the joys of autism.

I lost many years of my life because I had decided in my mind that autism had defeated me and prevented me from being the person I wanted to be when all along autism was actually giving me the tools and super-powers to be the person that I wanted to be and I did not even know it. 

There are many super-powers that I have that I relate to my autism.  I really love the fact that I can focus on things with such intensity and can enjoy my special interests.  I have learned that I need to be able to control what things I choose to focus intently on and focus on positive things instead of focusing on negative things but when I focus on positive things it is something that allows me to be able to turn out book after book because I love to just sit at the computer and type words of what I am thinking and feeling not just in relationship to autism but also in relationship to life in general. 

Writing has given me a voice and an outlet to sometimes challenge myself and my own thinking because when I write a thought down as something I want to put in a book I can look at it and visualize it and this allows me to challenge myself.  If I ever do write something negative I can immediately look back at what I wrote and say “is this true?” 

Challenging a belief is a complex process but one belief that I have been challenging lately is that autism prevents me from being who I want to be.  I challenge this belief by thinking back to all of the amazing things that I was doing before I even noticed that I was a unique person.  

Sometimes I wonder if I had even noticed that I have Asperger syndrome or not if I had not ever reached puberty and went through so many changes that led to me seeing women in a different lite than what I saw girls like as a little boy. 

The romantic relationship and romantic interaction is where I really noticed some challenges and realized how unique I was because I was not having the same interactions with women that other men were. 

Once again when I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome I of course immediately blamed Asperger Syndrome as the main reason that I could not relate to women or form meaningful relationships with women. 

I was always so quick to blame Asperger Syndrome and never allowed myself to sit back and think that there might be some other issues preventing me from developing social relationships.  I am someone who always wants instant gratification as many people do so I want answers to problems and I want to know why the answer is the way it is.  When I get an answer I am so quick to jump on it and decide that this is the reason for all of my problems when it is likely that there are many reasons for my problems and I need to just sit back and not blame any particular reason.

I also think very catastrophically.  When something is bad it is not just bad but it is the end of the world but yet when something is good it is not just good but it is fantastic and changing my life.  This is also a part of black and white thinking to where I either see something one way or the other.  Over-catastrophizing things actually is a feeder of depression because when you take something that is negative and over categorize it is the end of the world then your beliefs about that particular situation are going to be such that reflect that you think something is the end of the world and you will probably have over dramatic negative feelings as a result of your belief.

This is one-way social thinking comes into play for me.  Social thinking for me is about how I conceptualize the social and emotional world around me.  It does not just come into play when socializing with others but for me a key component to my mental health is to be social with myself and when being social with others I use social thinking to understand what others are thinking and saying but I also find that I use social thinking to understand what I am thinking and feeling as well. 

Part of social thinking and being a good social thinker for me is in realizing that I have some control over the thoughts and beliefs that I create in my mind.  One must give themselves power in creating the life that they want to have and when you begin to accept and realize that you can challenge any thought and create a different thought about a situation you are empowering yourself to change your life and create the happiness that you want.

I spent a lot of years post autism diagnosis thinking that other people were responsible for creating my happiness for me.  I basically took an autism diagnosis and decided that I was helpless because I had autism and the only way I was ever going to be happy is if my peers cared about me or the only way I was ever going to be happy was if a woman decided she liked me enough to date me.

When people kept trying to tell me that you have to be happy before you can form meaningful relationships with other people it made no sense to me because I was so focused on the fact that autism was a social disorder and I thought the reason that I was unhappy was because I had a social disorder that prevented me from socializing with my peers in the way that I really wanted to be able to socialize with them.  Once again I was blaming autism as a reason for not being able to socialize well and also because I blamed autism as a primary reason for the fact that I could not socialize well I relatedly blamed autism for the reason that I was unhappy.

I wanted a friend to make me happy because I did not think I could make myself happy.  I gave so much power to this autism thing and just gave it the power to ruin my life and prevent me from living the life that I always wanted to live when I did not even fully understand autism yet nor did I see the beautiful and positive things that autism could bring into my life because I let the negative things cover up the happy and positive things.

When it comes to behavior in life sometimes I have heard people saying that they feel behavior is just the way a person is or it is a part of who a person is and while that may be true I feel there are many different factors that contribute to a person’s behavior.

In my experience with behaviors in my personal life as I have tried to develop an understanding of my own behavior my behavior has always been a combination of two main things. 

The first is that my behavior is a response to the way in which others are interacting and behaving with me.  For example if someone is mean to me sometimes that has triggered a certain behavior in response to that person.

If you are a child with autism who is constantly getting picked on and bullied then of course it makes perfect sense that you are going to respond to that in a negative way probably because you have not been taught how to respond to that in a positive way.

I can think of numerous times in which I have responded to things in negative ways that have only seemed to escalate the situation and make it worse before making it better. 

One important life strategy that I am using in my life right now is to work on the life skill of trying to find more positive ways to respond to certain behaviors of other people so that I can not only be more patient and understanding with others but I am also a more well-rounded grounded person.  When I am patient and respond more positively to other’s behavior it allows me to be more emotionally mature than I have been in the past which is a great character for someone wanting to develop more friendships and social relationships in life.  When people look into making friends something that I have noticed we look for in other people subconsciously without really realizing it is that seek out friends who are emotionally stable and mature.  People often like to befriend people who are emotionally intelligent and a part of being emotionally intelligent is to be emotionally stable and respond positively to others instead of responding with negative behavior as a response to their behavior.

How we respond to others is always a choice.   As I mentioned earlier it took me a long time to begin to realize that I had a choice in life.  Yes that means even my behavior is a choice. 

As adults we might not always like to own up to the fact that we have a choice to choose how we behave and respond to things but the truth is we are all responsible for our own behaviors.  Even in the hardest circumstances we are still the ones who are responsible for the behavior in which we display.

Being responsible for our own behavior puts a lot of responsibility on us.  That means that we live every day knowing that we can do better than what we are doing if indeed we are having negative behavior.  It took me a long time to understand that I had control over my behaviors and all I had to do was choose to behave in a more positive way and I would begin to see my life change in big ways.

The second is that my behavior is often a response to a belief that I have about something or a belief that I have developed.  Once I realized that my behaviors were in response to my beliefs I quickly learned that in order to change my behavior all I needed to do was change my belief about something.  When we believe things that are untrue it creates a lot of anxiety for us and we respond to that belief and anxiety with negative behavior sometimes. 

If I believe life is unfair then I am going to think that the world is out to get me and everyone hates me.  Because I think that and believe that the way in which I behave in day to day life is going to be that of a person who thinks life is unfair and everyone wants to hurt them or take advantage of them.  If I believe that other people are trying to hurt me there are good chances that I am going to become very defensive and standoffish because I will believe that people do not have my best interest in heart.  I may lash out against others because I truly believe that they want to hurt me. 

In my experiences negative thinking almost always leads to negative behaviors with me.  But when I am able to start changing some of my thought processes around and begin to have more positive thinking which creates more positive and accurate beliefs about my life is when I start to automatically see some of my behaviors improving. 

For me the power of positive thinking goes way beyond just feeling better about myself.  The power of positive thinking actually goes a long way toward improving my behaviors and allowing me to be a more stable, fun-loving person to be around.  This makes other people want to become friends with me which has led to a dramatic improvement in my social life which has also helped create a lot of happiness in my life.

While changing your thinking is not going to solve every behavior that you have it can help you become a more grounded and stable person.   People who are positive thinkers are more likely to be emotionally healthy than people who spend their days plotting negative thoughts about how the world is out to get them. 

It is my opinion that negative thinking leads to negative behaviors and I had to make a choice in my life to say that I do not want to have negative behaviors.  In order to eliminate negative behaviors I had to do something to eliminate the negative thoughts and beliefs that were coming into my life. 

A big part of what has helped me to find my autistic super-powers and be able to begin accomplishing a lot of amazing things in life is that I was able to change my beliefs.  In changing my beliefs I was actually able to begin changing my behavior. 

There are many ways in which a person can change their behaviors but I really believe that one of the greatest ways in which someone can change their behavior is in changing the way they think, feel, and believe about the situation that is triggering or causing the behavior.

It is true that negative behaviors can prevent you from enjoying many amazing rewards of life.  Sometimes people just do not want to be around others who behave in negative ways but also they do not want to be around people who have negative beliefs which cause them to behave in negative ways. 

The hardest part of the entire process for me was in realizing that I needed to change my beliefs.  I was very stuck in my way of thinking and did not even realize I had options for thinking or believing things in different ways.  I was so depressed for so many years that I thought there was only one way to think, feel, or believe and this prevented me from even branching out to try different ways of thinking or different approaches to life.

I know it is common for people with autism to really perseverate on things and I was so stuck on thinking, feeling, and believing the way that I did that it prevented me from finding out who I really was because I spent a lot of years just stuck in my room feeling sorry for myself and depressed.  I did not even want to step out of my house because I believed that no one would understand how I felt or want to be friends with me.

It was not until I learned about the Sonrise program for people with autism that was all about changing your beliefs that I started to even form an interest in learning how to change the way I thought. 

I think deep down I thought that the way in which I think and the beliefs I had were a part of who I was.  I thought changing who I was would be a bad thing because I thought autism was supposed to be part of who I am. 

I guess this also means that I thought the beliefs I was having were because of having autism.  As I begun to study my beliefs and really examine them deep from within I begun to realize that the beliefs I had did not have anything to do with autism.  In fact it was the beliefs I was having that actually prevented me from seeing the super-powers and positive aspects of autism that now have exploded and helped improve my life so much.  Had I been able to change my beliefs and my thoughts I would have automatically been able to find the super-powers of autism because I would have been able to notice all of these amazing things about myself and I would have learned that a lot of the amazingness was because I was autistic.

For me it was never autism that was holding me back or causing behavior issues or really doing anything to my life.  It was my belief system that was causing me a lot of negative issues in life.  It is very true that your beliefs help to create your reality in which you live in.  My beliefs were leading me to live in misery and I misunderstood the cause of that misery and for a long time thought that it was autism.  When in fact, it was quite the opposite and it would turn out later in life that the autism was actually something of a super-power that I would use to help me change my beliefs and come out of that misery into a life full of happiness and amazing times.

I attribute a lot of the change in my beliefs about life to my autism.  It did not come easy but it was that perseveration of the autistic brain that allowed me to really focus in and examine my beliefs which then began to me challenging my beliefs and changing the way that I felt about things.

The perseveration part of autism is a very powerful tool.  When used for positive things it can really help someone develop a lot of amazing parts of their life.  When used negatively it can literally destroy someone’s life and destroying my life is exactly what I was using the perseveration part of autism to do for a long time.

Like everything else in life that was a choice too.  I did not always realize I had a choice to choose what I perseverate on but when I began to learn that I had choices on what I perseverated on I started actually changing the way I felt about things. 

My beliefs began to change and I was like a whole healthy person again.  This can be a tricky area to help someone with autism in because helping us take ownership and realize we have a choice in everything we do in life is not always something we are welcome to understanding or want to take ownership of. 

For me it took a lot of talking, a lot of patience, and a lot of good friends to really help me begin to examine my life and begin to understand that the way I felt about things in life was not something that occurred automatically but it was more something that happened because of a choice I made to believe something about something or someone which caused me to have negative feelings.

I have read about depression and I learned that most people think that the way they feel about something or a negative feeling is just a natural response to the situation or event that happened that they feel negatively about.

However, in my experience and many scientific studies actually back this up it is not the situation or negative thing that happened that causes you to feel negative about something.  The negative feelings actually come from a choice we make within ourselves to believe negatively about the event that happened. 

It is that negative belief that actually creates the negative feelings which lead to depression.

Once I learned that I could just choose to feel positively about anything that ever happened in my life I gained an awesome super-power and this may or may not even be related to autism but this could be a super-power for anyone. 

What I learned was that I could create any feeling I wanted to have about anything in the world all by simply just choosing to change the way I believed about something.  When I changed the way I believed about something it actually changed the way I felt about it and this gave me a lot of power to ignore a lot of bad things and focus in on more positive aspects of my life.

This gave me the super-power of focusing in on more of the positive traits of autism instead of being so intently focused on the negatives.

When you change your belief system and change the way you think, you make a shift from saying “autism prevents me from doing or autism prevents me from being” to “autism allows me to do or autism helps me be.”

When you make the shift from thinking about what you cannot do or be because you are autistic to what you can do or be because you are autistic it begins to change your life. 

This is such a powerful shift that you start to realize that you are not doomed just because you are not like others or do not have as many social or life skills as they do.  Actually for me this shift in thinking allowed me to see that I actually had some pretty good social and life skills deep down inside of me that I kept hidden for a long time because I was such a negative thinker that I assumed that my social and life skills were not as good as other people’s and therefore no one would want to be my friend because I did not feel I was as good at socializing as others were.

I had always been interested in socializing but I had so many negative experiences as a kid and teenager growing up that I had allowed myself to just develop this super large negative belief system that basically ran my life for a few years. 

I told myself I as not a good socializer so therefore what was the point in even trying to socialize.  I shut myself down before even putting myself out there because I was afraid that I was not good enough for anyone else.  This kept me closed off and isolated which actually created a negative cycle of events. 

Being alone and isolated led to years of depression.  It is amazing to me to learn and realize that a simple change in the way I believe about life and things in life would lead to so many other positive changes in my life.

Because I now believe I am good at socializing I put myself out there and try to meet other people.  Because I am trying I am finding that it is going quite well and I am making a lot of new friends.

It is my opinion that social and life skills are still just as important as changing the way we believe or think about things in life.  However, it is now my belief that helping someone realize they have a choice to change the way they believe or think about things in life is probably the most important life skill that we will ever teach to someone.

When I was stuck feeling sorry for myself and believing negative things about my life I thought everything about myself was terrible.  Just one negative belief about life led me to generalize that everything about me and my life was bad. 

It is said that negative thinking is contagious and that is true.  Other people can pick up on your negative thinking but also positive thinking is contagious to.  This is why so many people do not want to surround themselves with a circle of friends who think very negatively and instead want to focus on making friends who think very positively about things in life.

But thinking and believing is not just contagious in the fact that other people can catch it from you.  It is contagious in the fact that like a terrible illness it can spread to all parts of your body. 

If you think and believe very negatively about one thing in life then you start to catch yourself thinking and believing negatively about three or four things in life.  Before long you realize that you think negatively about ten or twenty things in life and before you know it the cycle is spinning out of control and everything about your life feels bad and negative.

When speaking of generalization I realized that I had taken one negative thought about life and turned it into 100 negative things about my life and when you are experiencing that many negative beliefs or thoughts about your life it becomes easy to fall into depression and being autistic sometimes it is easier to perseverate on the depression than to perseverate on how to change your beliefs and come out of the depression.

We all have things to live with in life and sometimes life is just about learning how to live the best we can in the circumstances that we have.  This is no different for me as someone with autism.

There are so many things about having autism that are positive and then there are a few things that seem negative or make things harder.  I am not trying to deny that autism is challenging or that autism is not a difficult diagnosis to live with but for me the biggest super-power of my life seems to be coming from realizing that autism is just that.  It is a diagnosis.  It is not something that dominates your life.

A big part of living with autism for me has been teaching myself to embrace the positive aspects of life with autism and turn them into amazing accomplishments or something positive that I can do with my life. 

While another aspect of autism has been to take what appears to be negative things about autism and learning a technique to learn how to use that negative thing and turn it into a positive thing and create positive things in life.

It does not matter if positive things in my life come from positive aspects of autism or negative aspects of autism.  However, the positive things that are in my life now that come from what I once thought were negative aspects of autism seem more bitter sweet to me because I know that I have been and continue to work hard to get there and accomplish great things.

I had become so obsessed with social skills coaching and learning social skills because I was so fixated on the fact that autism was a social disorder that could only be helped or fixed with social skills coaching that I did not even respond to counseling or any other forms of treatment for my autism.  There were so many people trying to give me advice and trying to help me with my life but I could not even notice that they were trying to help me because I was so stuck in deep depression.  I was so fixated on the bad that there was not even a remote possibility that there could ever be anything good in my life.  I wish I had so many years of my life back because if I could change the way I thought back then then I would have gained so much more happiness in life. But, that is okay because now I have been able to change my thinking and stop fixating on things that I thought or believed would cure me from autism and I can focus on the beautiful things that autism puts in my life and see so many positive and happy things about autism. 

What I once thought was completely a social disorder that no mental health treatment could ever possibly help with is now something that I see as a distorted thinking disorder more so than a social disorder. 

The older I get the more I see that there is less importance on social skills and more importance on how we think.  If we can control our thinking and have positive thoughts about who we are and what our life is like then there are great chances that we will be happy people who attract a lot of other happy people.  But if we are constantly sad and depressed it will be so much harder for us to attract other happy people because happy people want to be with happy people who help keep their spirits up and do not always want to spend their time with people who are unhappy and might bring their spirits down.

I once thought learning social skills was the only way to change my thoughts.  People kept trying to talk to me about changing my thoughts and I could not understand why people were trying to get me to change my thinking without changing or improving my social skills.   To me there was a direct relationship between my social skills which in my perception were broken and the thoughts and beliefs that I had about my life.  I did not always see that you could change your beliefs without changing the social skills because I thought the beliefs were born from the social skills.  This is one aspect of mind blindness that I have struggled with for years. 

Sometimes I am a stubborn person and once I believe something it is really hard to convince me otherwise.  I self-sabotaged a lot of my social relationships with not only my peers but with autism professionals over the years because of my stubborn beliefs that prevented me from creating the happiness that I had always deserved to have in my life. 

My super-powers that I now relate to autism were so covered up by my stubbornness and ability to hyper-focus on the negatives in life instead of focusing on all of the great and positive things that were happening in my life.  More so than I needed social skills training my brain needed training on how to restructure my thoughts and form more positive thoughts about myself. 

When you do not know how to create positive thoughts or challenge distorted thoughts you are creating this delusional perception of who you are as a person.  If your beliefs are telling you that you are a bad person then you are really going to think you are a bad person when in reality you are a good person but your beliefs about who you are as a person are distorted and preventing you from seeing who you really are as a person.

The same is true when it comes to autism.  When your beliefs about autism are so that you think autism is a negative thing and something that prevents you from having the life that you have always wanted to have then you are going to see autism as something to blame for preventing you from having the life you have always wanted to have when in reality you are the reason that you do not have the life that you have always wanted because you are choosing to believe things about autism and yourself that are not true and when you focus on the negative all that does is bring you down and prevent you from even trying to improve your life or your thinking.

My belief that autism had ruined my life pretty much prevented me from using the super-powers of autism to create the awesome life that I have always wanted.  It is such an intriguing concept to grasp, but our beliefs about life and who we are as people really do create our reality of life and the reality of who we are as people. 

By no means am I saying that it is as simple concept to just believe positive things and be happy.  There will always be negative things that come up and challenge our positive beliefs in life but the more we practice mindfulness and turning negative beliefs into positive ones the more natural it becomes and eventually you will be able to spot a negative belief coming on long before it even comes on and you will already be challenging it subconsciously in your mind before the negative thought ever even surfaces thus you are preventing the negative thought or belief from occurring before it ever actually occurs.  When you are able to do this you can truly appreciate the happiness of life and the joys of autism.

I lost many years of my life because I had decided in my mind that autism had defeated me and prevented me from being the person I wanted to be when all along autism was actually giving me the tools and super-powers to be the person that I wanted to be and I did not even know it. 

There are many super-powers that I have that I relate to my autism.  I really love the fact that I can focus on things with such intensity and can enjoy my special interests.  I have learned that I need to be able to control what things I choose to focus intently on and focus on positive things instead of focusing on negative things but when I focus on positive things it is something that allows me to be able to turn out book after book because I love to just sit at the computer and type words of what I am thinking and feeling not just in relationship to autism but also in relationship to life in general. 

Writing has given me a voice and an outlet to sometimes challenge myself and my own thinking because when I write a thought down as something I want to put in a book I can look at it and visualize it and this allows me to challenge myself.  If I ever do write something negative I can immediately look back at what I wrote and say “is this true?” 

Challenging a belief is a complex process but one belief that I have been challenging lately is that autism prevents me from being who I want to be.  I challenge this belief by thinking back to all of the amazing things that I was doing before I even noticed that I was a unique person.  

Sometimes I wonder if I had even noticed that I have Asperger syndrome or not if I had not ever reached puberty and went through so many changes that led to me seeing women in a different lite than what I saw girls like as a little boy. 

The romantic relationship and romantic interaction is where I really noticed some challenges and realized how unique I was because I was not having the same interactions with women that other men were. 

Once again when I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome I of course immediately blamed Asperger Syndrome as the main reason that I could not relate to women or form meaningful relationships with women. 

I was always so quick to blame Asperger Syndrome and never allowed myself to sit back and think that there might be some other issues preventing me from developing social relationships.  I am someone who always wants instant gratification as many people do so I want answers to problems and I want to know why the answer is the way it is.  When I get an answer I am so quick to jump on it and decide that this is the reason for all of my problems when it is likely that there are many reasons for my problems and I need to just sit back and not blame any particular reason.

I also think very catastrophically.  When something is bad it is not just bad but it is the end of the world but yet when something is good it is not just good but it is fantastic and changing my life.  This is also a part of black and white thinking to where I either see something one way or the other.  Over-catastrophizing things actually is a feeder of depression because when you take something that is negative and over categorize it is the end of the world then your beliefs about that particular situation are going to be such that reflect that you think something is the end of the world and you will probably have over dramatic negative feelings as a result of your belief.

This is one-way social thinking comes into play for me.  Social thinking for me is about how I conceptualize the social and emotional world around me.  It does not just come into play when socializing with others but for me a key component to my mental health is to be social with myself and when being social with others I use social thinking to understand what others are thinking and saying but I also find that I use social thinking to understand what I am thinking and feeling as well. 

Part of social thinking and being a good social thinker for me is in realizing that I have some control over the thoughts and beliefs that I create in my mind.  One must give themselves power in creating the life that they want to have and when you begin to accept and realize that you can challenge any thought and create a different thought about a situation you are empowering yourself to change your life and create the happiness that you want.

I spent a lot of years post autism diagnosis thinking that other people were responsible for creating my happiness for me.  I basically took an autism diagnosis and decided that I was helpless because I had autism and the only way I was ever going to be happy is if my peers cared about me or the only way I was ever going to be happy was if a woman decided she liked me enough to date me.

When people kept trying to tell me that you have to be happy before you can form meaningful relationships with other people it made no sense to me because I was so focused on the fact that autism was a social disorder and I thought the reason that I was unhappy was because I had a social disorder that prevented me from socializing with my peers in the way that I really wanted to be able to socialize with them.  Once again I was blaming autism as a reason for not being able to socialize well and also because I blamed autism as a primary reason for the fact that I could not socialize well I relatedly blamed autism for the reason that I was unhappy.

I wanted a friend to make me happy because I did not think I could make myself happy.  I gave so much power to this autism thing and just gave it the power to ruin my life and prevent me from living the life that I always wanted to live when I did not even fully understand autism yet nor did I see the beautiful and positive things that autism could bring into my life because I let the negative things cover up the happy and positive things.

When it comes to behavior in life sometimes I have heard people saying that they feel behavior is just the way a person is or it is a part of who a person is and while that may be true I feel there are many different factors that contribute to a person’s behavior.

In my experience with behaviors in my personal life as I have tried to develop an understanding of my own behavior my behavior has always been a combination of two main things. 

The first is that my behavior is a response to the way in which others are interacting and behaving with me.  For example if someone is mean to me sometimes that has triggered a certain behavior in response to that person.

If you are a child with autism who is constantly getting picked on and bullied then of course it makes perfect sense that you are going to respond to that in a negative way probably because you have not been taught how to respond to that in a positive way.

I can think of numerous times in which I have responded to things in negative ways that have only seemed to escalate the situation and make it worse before making it better. 

One important life strategy that I am using in my life right now is to work on the life skill of trying to find more positive ways to respond to certain behaviors of other people so that I can not only be more patient and understanding with others but I am also a more well-rounded grounded person.  When I am patient and respond more positively to other’s behavior it allows me to be more emotionally mature than I have been in the past which is a great character for someone wanting to develop more friendships and social relationships in life.  When people look into making friends something that I have noticed we look for in other people subconsciously without really realizing it is that seek out friends who are emotionally stable and mature.  People often like to befriend people who are emotionally intelligent and a part of being emotionally intelligent is to be emotionally stable and respond positively to others instead of responding with negative behavior as a response to their behavior.

How we respond to others is always a choice.   As I mentioned earlier it took me a long time to begin to realize that I had a choice in life.  Yes that means even my behavior is a choice. 

As adults we might not always like to own up to the fact that we have a choice to choose how we behave and respond to things but the truth is we are all responsible for our own behaviors.  Even in the hardest circumstances we are still the ones who are responsible for the behavior in which we display.

Being responsible for our own behavior puts a lot of responsibility on us.  That means that we live every day knowing that we can do better than what we are doing if indeed we are having negative behavior.  It took me a long time to understand that I had control over my behaviors and all I had to do was choose to behave in a more positive way and I would begin to see my life change in big ways.

The second is that my behavior is often a response to a belief that I have about something or a belief that I have developed.  Once I realized that my behaviors were in response to my beliefs I quickly learned that in order to change my behavior all I needed to do was change my belief about something.  When we believe things that are untrue it creates a lot of anxiety for us and we respond to that belief and anxiety with negative behavior sometimes. 

If I believe life is unfair then I am going to think that the world is out to get me and everyone hates me.  Because I think that and believe that the way in which I behave in day to day life is going to be that of a person who thinks life is unfair and everyone wants to hurt them or take advantage of them.  If I believe that other people are trying to hurt me there are good chances that I am going to become very defensive and standoffish because I will believe that people do not have my best interest in heart.  I may lash out against others because I truly believe that they want to hurt me. 

In my experiences negative thinking almost always leads to negative behaviors with me.  But when I am able to start changing some of my thought processes around and begin to have more positive thinking which creates more positive and accurate beliefs about my life is when I start to automatically see some of my behaviors improving. 

For me the power of positive thinking goes way beyond just feeling better about myself.  The power of positive thinking actually goes a long way toward improving my behaviors and allowing me to be a more stable, fun-loving person to be around.  This makes other people want to become friends with me which has led to a dramatic improvement in my social life which has also helped create a lot of happiness in my life.

While changing your thinking is not going to solve every behavior that you have it can help you become a more grounded and stable person.   People who are positive thinkers are more likely to be emotionally healthy than people who spend their days plotting negative thoughts about how the world is out to get them. 

It is my opinion that negative thinking leads to negative behaviors and I had to make a choice in my life to say that I do not want to have negative behaviors.  In order to eliminate negative behaviors I had to do something to eliminate the negative thoughts and beliefs that were coming into my life. 

A big part of what has helped me to find my autistic super-powers and be able to begin accomplishing a lot of amazing things in life is that I was able to change my beliefs.  In changing my beliefs I was actually able to begin changing my behavior. 

There are many ways in which a person can change their behaviors but I really believe that one of the greatest ways in which someone can change their behavior is in changing the way they think, feel, and believe about the situation that is triggering or causing the behavior.

It is true that negative behaviors can prevent you from enjoying many amazing rewards of life.  Sometimes people just do not want to be around others who behave in negative ways but also they do not want to be around people who have negative beliefs which cause them to behave in negative ways. 

The hardest part of the entire process for me was in realizing that I needed to change my beliefs.  I was very stuck in my way of thinking and did not even realize I had options for thinking or believing things in different ways.  I was so depressed for so many years that I thought there was only one way to think, feel, or believe and this prevented me from even branching out to try different ways of thinking or different approaches to life.

I know it is common for people with autism to really perseverate on things and I was so stuck on thinking, feeling, and believing the way that I did that it prevented me from finding out who I really was because I spent a lot of years just stuck in my room feeling sorry for myself and depressed.  I did not even want to step out of my house because I believed that no one would understand how I felt or want to be friends with me.

It was not until I learned about the Sonrise program for people with autism that was all about changing your beliefs that I started to even form an interest in learning how to change the way I thought. 

I think deep down I thought that the way in which I think and the beliefs I had were a part of who I was.  I thought changing who I was would be a bad thing because I thought autism was supposed to be part of who I am. 

I guess this also means that I thought the beliefs I was having were because of having autism.  As I begun to study my beliefs and really examine them deep from within I begun to realize that the beliefs I had did not have anything to do with autism.  In fact it was the beliefs I was having that actually prevented me from seeing the super-powers and positive aspects of autism that now have exploded and helped improve my life so much.  Had I been able to change my beliefs and my thoughts I would have automatically been able to find the super-powers of autism because I would have been able to notice all of these amazing things about myself and I would have learned that a lot of the amazingness was because I was autistic.

For me it was never autism that was holding me back or causing behavior issues or really doing anything to my life.  It was my belief system that was causing me a lot of negative issues in life.  It is very true that your beliefs help to create your reality in which you live in.  My beliefs were leading me to live in misery and I misunderstood the cause of that misery and for a long time thought that it was autism.  When in fact, it was quite the opposite and it would turn out later in life that the autism was actually something of a super-power that I would use to help me change my beliefs and come out of that misery into a life full of happiness and amazing times.

I attribute a lot of the change in my beliefs about life to my autism.  It did not come easy but it was that perseveration of the autistic brain that allowed me to really focus in and examine my beliefs which then began to me challenging my beliefs and changing the way that I felt about things.

The perseveration part of autism is a very powerful tool.  When used for positive things it can really help someone develop a lot of amazing parts of their life.  When used negatively it can literally destroy someone’s life and destroying my life is exactly what I was using the perseveration part of autism to do for a long time.

Like everything else in life that was a choice too.  I did not always realize I had a choice to choose what I perseverate on but when I began to learn that I had choices on what I perseverated on I started actually changing the way I felt about things. 

My beliefs began to change and I was like a whole healthy person again.  This can be a tricky area to help someone with autism in because helping us take ownership and realize we have a choice in everything we do in life is not always something we are welcome to understanding or want to take ownership of. 

For me it took a lot of talking, a lot of patience, and a lot of good friends to really help me begin to examine my life and begin to understand that the way I felt about things in life was not something that occurred automatically but it was more something that happened because of a choice I made to believe something about something or someone which caused me to have negative feelings.

I have read about depression and I learned that most people think that the way they feel about something or a negative feeling is just a natural response to the situation or event that happened that they feel negatively about.

However, in my experience and many scientific studies actually back this up it is not the situation or negative thing that happened that causes you to feel negative about something.  The negative feelings actually come from a choice we make within ourselves to believe negatively about the event that happened. 

It is that negative belief that actually creates the negative feelings which lead to depression.

Once I learned that I could just choose to feel positively about anything that ever happened in my life I gained an awesome super-power and this may or may not even be related to autism but this could be a super-power for anyone. 

What I learned was that I could create any feeling I wanted to have about anything in the world all by simply just choosing to change the way I believed about something.  When I changed the way I believed about something it actually changed the way I felt about it and this gave me a lot of power to ignore a lot of bad things and focus in on more positive aspects of my life.

This gave me the super-power of focusing in on more of the positive traits of autism instead of being so intently focused on the negatives.

When you change your belief system and change the way you think, you make a shift from saying “autism prevents me from doing or autism prevents me from being” to “autism allows me to do or autism helps me be.”

When you make the shift from thinking about what you cannot do or be because you are autistic to what you can do or be because you are autistic it begins to change your life. 

This is such a powerful shift that you start to realize that you are not doomed just because you are not like others or do not have as many social or life skills as they do.  Actually for me this shift in thinking allowed me to see that I actually had some pretty good social and life skills deep down inside of me that I kept hidden for a long time because I was such a negative thinker that I assumed that my social and life skills were not as good as other people’s and therefore no one would want to be my friend because I did not feel I was as good at socializing as others were.

I had always been interested in socializing but I had so many negative experiences as a kid and teenager growing up that I had allowed myself to just develop this super large negative belief system that basically ran my life for a few years. 

I told myself I as not a good socializer so therefore what was the point in even trying to socialize.  I shut myself down before even putting myself out there because I was afraid that I was not good enough for anyone else.  This kept me closed off and isolated which actually created a negative cycle of events. 

Being alone and isolated led to years of depression.  It is amazing to me to learn and realize that a simple change in the way I believe about life and things in life would lead to so many other positive changes in my life.

Because I now believe I am good at socializing I put myself out there and try to meet other people.  Because I am trying I am finding that it is going quite well and I am making a lot of new friends.

It is my opinion that social and life skills are still just as important as changing the way we believe or think about things in life.  However, it is now my belief that helping someone realize they have a choice to change the way they believe or think about things in life is probably the most important life skill that we will ever teach to someone.

When I was stuck feeling sorry for myself and believing negative things about my life I thought everything about myself was terrible.  Just one negative belief about life led me to generalize that everything about me and my life was bad. 

It is said that negative thinking is contagious and that is true.  Other people can pick up on your negative thinking but also positive thinking is contagious to.  This is why so many people do not want to surround themselves with a circle of friends who think very negatively and instead want to focus on making friends who think very positively about things in life.

But thinking and believing is not just contagious in the fact that other people can catch it from you.  It is contagious in the fact that like a terrible illness it can spread to all parts of your body. 

If you think and believe very negatively about one thing in life then you start to catch yourself thinking and believing negatively about three or four things in life.  Before long you realize that you think negatively about ten or twenty things in life and before you know it the cycle is spinning out of control and everything about your life feels bad and negative.

When speaking of generalization I realized that I had taken one negative thought about life and turned it into 100 negative things about my life and when you are experiencing that many negative beliefs or thoughts about your life it becomes easy to fall into depression and being autistic sometimes it is easier to perseverate on the depression than to perseverate on how to change your beliefs and come out of the depression.

We all have things to live with in life and sometimes life is just about learning how to live the best we can in the circumstances that we have.  This is no different for me as someone with autism.

There are so many things about having autism that are positive and then there are a few things that seem negative or make things harder.  I am not trying to deny that autism is challenging or that autism is not a difficult diagnosis to live with but for me the biggest super-power of my life seems to be coming from realizing that autism is just that.  It is a diagnosis.  It is not something that dominates your life.

A big part of living with autism for me has been teaching myself to embrace the positive aspects of life with autism and turn them into amazing accomplishments or something positive that I can do with my life. 

While another aspect of autism has been to take what appears to be negative things about autism and learning a technique to learn how to use that negative thing and turn it into a positive thing and create positive things in life.

It does not matter if positive things in my life come from positive aspects of autism or negative aspects of autism.  However, the positive things that are in my life now that come from what I once thought were negative aspects of autism seem more bitter sweet to me because I know that I have been and continue to work hard to get there and accomplish great things.

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Autism Is My Super Power $13.95 Includes Shipping and Tax

After years of ups and downs and a lot of depression learn how Travis challenged his belief system to realize that autism provided him many awesome super-powers in life. Travis turns what he used to perceive as negative aspects of autism into positive aspects of autism through restructuring his thought and belief processing system. In this book you will learn how learning to think more positively is the best life skill Travis has learned. When you think positively, those positive thoughts generalize to all areas of your life. Travis says his greatest super-power stems from learning that he could create positive thoughts about any situation in life. This has allowed him to change his life and create the happiness that he truly desires. Just like social skills, beliefs and thoughts have context to them. Travis teaches the reader how to understand the context of their own beliefs and apply strategies to turn those beliefs from negatives to positives while applying positive thinking to all aspects of life.

$13.75

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