Part 3: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution

Autism by definition provides a new basis on which to interpret behavior. Once you learn the dynamics and the common behaviors in those on the spectrum, things begin to make sense. This in turn addresses our confusion, our tendency to take it personally, and the general feeling of being out of control. Armed with this new sense of understanding of our loved one with autism, we are positioned to make informed choices to improve our response, to provide more help to our loved one, to learn not to take it personally, and to regain a sense of control of our lives (as much as that is possible for anyone). This makes it possible for the struggle to resume its rightful place in our world, rather than dominating every waking moment, and steam-rolling every initiative. We get our life back; we can actually learn to detach in a healthy way (one that doesn’t include angry, expletives and exhausted collapse in despair).

Once you can calm yourself enough to detach, you are ready for the next step in creating a more peaceful life: leaning in to your acceptance, and creating well-being for yourself in spite of the presence of autism. Don’t misunderstand me. Acceptance doesn’t mean to like, agree with, approve of, desire, or resign ourselves in frustration to something we do not want. It does mean to stop struggling with the existence of what is, and begin instead to learn to live in peace and even embracing the presence of something we would prefer was not impacting our lives, but does. The proactive decision on our part to embrace the autism has the added bonus of engaging our personal power to make choices. Even when we feel we are forced to accept the unacceptable, we do have choices!

For example, we can choose to manage our feelings; letting certain feelings drift into and out of our experience without taking up permanent residence inside ourselves, and instead allowing positive feelings to come to roost. The mission to be part of the solution is never best served by anger, fear, disgusted resignation, frustration, agitation, defensiveness, resentment, jealousy, depression or sickness. Nor is it served by stuffing our feelings down and ignoring them. Peace is found when we open our hearts and find ways to experience joy, appreciation, love, health, and well-being even in the face of the existence of a circumstance we would prefer to be different. Peace is within our reach if we find and embrace the perspective that promotes it.