Firstly by the time some of you are reading this blog, my overall blog will have reached 40,000 views which in all honesty seems quite surreal. I'm so so grateful to every single view, I just hope my story and experiences will have helped some of you out there or someone you know. I started this blog in a not very good place in life and am proud of myself for how far I have come (I always have struggled with writing to). I hope my blogs have opened some eyes to what living with a neurodiverse invisible difference can effect day to day life, helped people understand the emotional and social effects and most importantly highlighted the many strengths, thank you.
Been finding a lot of people especially from the Dyspraxia Foundation Adult Facebook page and a lot of parents seem to be wanting advice and support about about the emotional side to dyspraxia, the highs and the lows my mum and boyfriend always call it. I have briefly touched on assertiveness in quite a few of my previous blogs but thought it was something which needed covering in more depth as it's something I've always struggled with over the years. I pride myself on being a nice, kind hearted and genuinely good natured person think I've definitely got that side of me from my mum.
I'll give my up most to try and be kind and positively help someone through what struggles they might be going through in life and that will never change. But one thing I've noticed throughout life is not everyone is as nice as me, and sometimes I'm too nice for my own good which has lead to me getting in quite emotionally upsetting and anxious situations. Sadly not everyone understands the wiring of the neurodiverse brain, especially the social aspects which can come from it. Dyspraxic people are quite trusting people and literal thinkers as are people on the autistic spectrum, it means without the right coping strategies we can be quite vulnerable to abuse and bullying or "banter" as a lot of it is called on social media these days. Please if you're reading this and think it's a bit of banter to make someone with a hidden difference out to be someone they're not or take advantage of their kindness please take a step back and think how much literal thinking can have such an emotionally devastating effect, think before you type and speak and be mindfull if you see it happening to others have the confidence to help someone if you think they're in trouble it could help stop something serious happen to them.
Moving to London has made me realise how much you need to be assertive of yourself and your possessions, city life is just go go go, and you realise how much you need to be aware, no zoning out, you realise that not everyone is kind, you meet some interesting characters to say the least and how to make sure your belongings are safe. It's not easy especially with spacial awareness, poor sense of direction and sensory issues, but it's almost forced upon yourself to develop more coping strategies.
I think a lot of assertiveness comes hand in hand with confidence and self esteem, and believing in your values and who you are as a person, I've never found this easy and it's still a conscious daily battle, but you will feel so much better and hopefully safer. It makes me so angry that there are people that would take advantage of others out there, the world would be a better place with more kindness but we have to be honest and accept it for what it is, and how to protect ourselves. Here are a few strategies which I've learnt/been told to myself over the years I hope some of them might help some of you/someone you know.
1. Have belief in yourself that you are who you are and that if someone can't make the effort to get to know you properly or understand how your brain is wired or why you do something the way you do, then it's their ignorance it's not your fault.
2. Nobody has the right to make you feel uncomfortable or do things which make you feel uncomfortable, it's ok to say no, it doesn't mean you're a bad person. You're a human being you cannot be expected to do everything perfectly all the time.
3. Talk to someone for a second opinion if you think you're being taken advantage of and ask for a more rational explanation and go from there.
4. Literal thinking can be hard to manage especially if you get yourself worked up in a state, take a few minutes calm yourself down and do some self care.
5. Turn your phone off- social media can bring the best and worst out of people, it can be an incredibly positive thing, help people make friends, help raise awareness or support for a cause or artist and when people join together it can be incredible. It can also bring out a jealous, anonymous side out of some people especially where celebrity culture is concerned. Step back from anything or anyone which makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to feel happy online as well as offline.
6. Being assertive doesn't mean being angry or make you a nasty person, sometimes it can help rehearsing or writing down little phrases which can help in difficult situations. Such as "you have no right to talk to me like that." It's really hard and not easy especially if it doesn't come naturally to your nature.
7. Choose people to be around which make you happy and bring out the best of your unique personality.