I often meet Autists who dislike themselves. The medicalization of Autism has caused many Autistic people to believe there is something inherently wrong with them. Many, fearing stigma, feel the need to mask, to adapt, to change themselves, to appear less Autistic.
When I notice self-spite in my coaching clients, I offer thought work and share resources relevant to their struggles, though I also refer them to the neurodiversity community. I often refer clients to Autistic groups, including monthly meetings. In the meetings I attend, we engage in our culture, Autistic culture.
Confidence comes from meeting people who are like you—your people. In these people, you can see yourself. My unconventional lifestyle made sense to me when I met others who lived similar lifestyles. Engaging with other Autists reminds me that I am a perfectly normal Autistic person. Everyone is normal or no one is normal because normal doesn’t exist, has never existed.
Neurokin is a term that refers to the people who share your neurotype: dyspraxia, ADHD, autism, neurotypical. Neurokinship enables pride, confidence. No longer do I feel the need to people please. Pleasing people means you don’t please yourself. Also means you attract people who may not accept the real you, in part because they don’t know the real you. Also because their values likely don’t align with yours. Be yourself. People pleasing attracts the wrong people.
I learned I was a real person when I began to interact with other people who are on my wavelength. This is why “disclosure” is important. Norms are changing. Workplaces, work cultures, are changing. Openly sharing your neurodivergence in your workplaces and communities will further these positive changes, in part by fostering pride, creating a sense of belonging for yourself and others.