Here are some tips that have helped me live a more unapologetically Autistic life.
As with any advice, not everything I say here may work for you. So take whatever works and modify whatever you need to make these tips work for you!
1. Get comfortable with disappointing people.
I know, I know, this is tough AF if you’re a chronic people-pleaser. (I was one too!) But it’s important, because it’s impossible to please everybody when you’re being your authentic self.
It takes practice to get comfortable with letting people down. So take your time with this.
It’s vital we learn to navigate interactions marked by conflict, and practice standing firm in the face of negative reactions from others. As long as we haven’t abused anyone or violated their rights, it’s okay for our actions to make others unhappy. Devon Price, Unmasking Autism
2. Honour your limits.
You don’t have to constantly push yourself to meet neurotypical standards. That’s just a recipe for burnout.
It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. No matter what others may say, you’re not “lazy” or “weak” just because you find it difficult to do something that is easy for most people.
3. Find accommodations that work for you.
Experiment with different sensory aids (e.g. ear plugs, noise-cancelling headphones, sunglasses), stim toys, etc. and see what works for you.
4. Develop your personal style.
This is the fun part!
Explore your interests, experiment with different things (be it your fashion style, hobbies, activities, etc.), and see what brings you the most joy.
If you’re a visual person, you could also create a mood board (you can use Pinterest) of things that inspire you!
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. Ralph Waldo Emerson
5. Build up your self-worth and learn not to rely on external validation.
This takes time (perhaps even years) to cultivate, so be patient.
A few suggestions on how to build up your self-worth:
- Figure out what makes you, you. (The previous tip, “Develop your personal style”, is a great starting point for this!)
- Identify your personal values. (Google “personal values” for examples or go to personalvalu.es to take a free test.)
- Discover your personal strengths. (Google “personal strengths” for examples or go to HIGH5 Strengths Test to take a free test.)
6. Define for yourself what a fulfilling life looks like to you.
From my experience, I find that to thrive as an Autistic person, you have to forge your own path and define for yourself what a fulfilling life means to you, instead of following everyone else.
Ask yourself: What’s the one thing that drives you and makes your life worth living? (For me, it’s discovering/learning cool shit and making cool shit.) Take your time to think about this. Once you’ve figured it out, use that as a guide.
It is better to follow your own path, however imperfectly, than to follow someone else’s perfectly. Bhagavad-Gita
- Get comfortable with disappointing people.
- Honour your limits.
- Find accommodations that work for you.
- Develop your personal style.
- Build up your self-worth and learn not to rely on external validation.
- Define for yourself what a fulfilling life looks like to you.
Hope you find these tips helpful! If you have any other tips on living an unapologetically Autistic life that I didn’t mention, feel free to share them with me via email or webmention!