27. How to get unstuckMar 07, 2023
Masking is a systemic issue.
A learned response to to stigma, inaccessible and oppressive structures and social expectations.
It also creates a belief that I want to highlight:
"I can't be myself AND make life work"
This is an inevitable conclusion of having learned that YOUR natural way of being upsets people.
Or is wrong.
Or is not enough.
Or is too much.
That being yourself is just not an option that leads to interpersonal, physical, psychological or material safety.
That you have to put other people’s comfort and good opinion and acceptance and the status quo that maintains that, above yourself.
And disconnect from yourself in order to maintain.
Along come the two main narratives to then draw on:
that “it’s not possible to be myself AND make life work”
1) of who YOU are, and what you do/don't do
2) is because of who THEY are, and what they do/don't do.
Neither of these are empowering.
The answer is somewhere in between:
That yes, there are the external systems and structures, the dominant consensus reality, specific cultural norms and ideologies and harms, the people who are resourced in their natural state
But there is also:
the habitual self you’ve been being, that you created in response to all that. That acts in agreement with what doesn't work - because you believe there is no other option.
The habitual ways of thinking and reacting and acting that over time that became just the way you do things,
and over longer time, became the only self that you know how to be.
The only way THIS self knows how to make life work, is by NOT being all of who you are.
To put your own self connection last.
The only way we begin that external change, is if we first unravel it's effects in our self-relationship.
beliefs, thoughts, actions (the parts we can control).
In this week's podcast episode, I explore how the solution is
to know deeply that:
the ONLY way for you to make life work IS to be yourself.
This episode is called How to get unstuck and make your life work. And so this is for you, if you are feeling stuck, if you're feeling overwhelmed, you don't know where to start. And what I want to share about is one of the beliefs, the common beliefs that I see operating in those I work with. And that was really a deep belief for me that I've had to work on is the the idea, the belief that I can't be myself and make life work, that these are mutually exclusive, that you can't do both, that making your life work. So having money having structures that make sense for you, being able to have the agency around how you do life, how you do relationships, and how you be part of society in a way that in a way that leads to feeling included, and accessing the things that you need, and that you want. We develop this belief that this access that that being part of things, is contingent on not being yourself, right. And this is a belief that comes from years of masking and hiding and over adapting and compromising as a response to inaccessible structures to stigma to societal expectations, and oppression, right? It's an inevitable conclusion of having learned that you don't get to be yourself or that your natural way of being upsets people or people misread you. Or it's just wrong or the, it's not enough, or it's too much, or it's too slow, or it's too quiet or too loud, too fast. And that you being yourself is just not an option that leads to interpersonal, and psychological and material and physical safety, right. And that your only option is to put other people's comfort and opinion and their idea of what's acceptable and the status quo of how things work above your own self connected truth, right. And so disconnecting from yourself becomes a strategy for responding to all of that. And so masking over adapting not being authentic to how you really feel or what's right for you, is a systemic issue, it's not a personal issue that you can just fix by yourself. And this is why you'll never hear me say just take off the mask or like just be yourself. It's not the experience that many of us have lived, especially if there are other isms and prejudices that you come up against. All of which are really about imposing meaning onto your body and your experiences in your truth that makes you not quite human right, that there is a correct way to be human and that you are doing it wrong. And that there are very real material consequences to doing it wrong. So it makes sense that we get obsessed with doing it right and holding on tightly to principles and ways of doing things that we understand to be correct or that have worked or that we mask or that we hide behind those best efforts to do it right and to not rock the boat and to just stay under the radar as much as possible. So that we can live some kind of life have some kind of peace and the false belonging and appearance of belonging that this affords. And that is all that we get to have, right? And then there's the times maybe when you do step up when you do try and advocate and if it doesn't go well, then that's even more evidence that you build up as to why you don't get to be who you are. You don't get to be authentically by yourself, and that your only option is to not do that. And so we also end up not wanting to have to be brave, every step and hold all of the difficult conversations at every step and have to do all of that. Right? Sometimes you just want to get on with things. And we also experience being told that we're doing wrong, when our intentions are of the very best and the most giving and the most loving. So it can be very confusing. And it can feel like the only strategy that seems to work is to not be who you are, and not be yourself. And you know, this can play out in every single decision that we're doing, and that we're making, where we pre compromise, we just assume that it's not going to work. And so we offer up what we think will be in the direction of something that will be accepted. And it shows up in, you know, the ways that we might try and communicate, and that we might try and like spending six hours carefully writing a work email and reading over and over to make sure that you've conveyed the exact meanings. I need to be told that you've offended someone or that you're overthinking it, or you're waging a war with your questions, or why are you okay? Or people don't respond, right. So six hours of your life wasted and misinterpreted, and you're none the wiser about what exact implicit social rule that you've broken. And so yeah, it can build up where you have this belief, because you have so much evidence, so much proof in your experience, that it's true, that I can't be myself and make life work that this is just not an option. And like all beliefs that we develop through experiences that are negative, or reoccurring, that belief is a conclusion that we made long, long, a long time ago, that we've kept reinforcing. And that to the extent that it just feels like reality just feels true. And so it just feels true. And so it can be this covert undercover form of self sabotage, that can influence every single decision you're making, and just feels like you have no other options. Because your assumption is already that you don't get to be who you are, right. So you're already on the backfoot, you're already compromising, you're already negotiating, you're already over explaining, you're already negating yourself, whenever it comes to anything that you want or need. And, and then there's the narratives online, which also promote this kind of victimhood, that the system is the problem. Or, you know, in the case of being neurodivergent, that neurotypicals are the problem. And that the system or the problem or the structures or the ISM is where all the power is. And that that external source of harm has all the power, which means that you can do nothing about it, because that place is the solution and the power to influence and change your life entirely outside of your control. And inside the thoughts and the actions of people who belong inside those monolithic entities, right, which it makes it also very hard to grapple with, it feels like it's you against the world, it feels hopeless. And so learning that you're autistic, for many of us can feel like the missing piece of information. It's like the part of your identity and your experiences that you hadn't had yet that you now can gain some hope from, it's like it makes sense of all the times that were according to everything around you, you should have managed to do it or you shouldn't be able to fit in or you should feel like you belong, and that you haven't. And so for a lot of us, this is like the final piece of information, right? It sheds light on additional barriers that you face that are invisible, that are cognitive or linguistic or tacit and hidden and covert, inside just the way things are designed and structured. And it's like, ah, like I've been struggling and it's not my fault. I've been living in this world that's rewarding people for getting things right. And those roadways don't fit me. And so it gives you the information that it's not your fault that you can't make life work in the same way and that you do need to do things differently. But then there's a secondary layer, which is that all the ways that you've not been able to To make things work, the way that other people do,
is projected onto you as the problem that's taking place in your individual body. And then either explained as a lack, or I'm even seeing now the neurodiversity is just being morphed into this thing that is like an individualistic trait, which takes away all of the meaning of like, No, we don't say that some animals are biodiv biodiverse, and others are not. Right. Biodiversity is, is everything and everyone. And it's the same with neurodiversity. Anyway, side note, but it's couched and the meaning is given that you It's you that's missing something, or it's a problem in your body. And that it's you as an individual separate from everything else. And that it's a skill or ability that only if you had it, then you'd be able to make life work, right, which just is like another layer of disbelief in your own agency and your own power to get unstuck and to start making things work. So then it becomes I can't be myself and make life work because of me. Or, because of them and how they see me and how they have all the power. Right, neither of which is empowering. Because if it's about them, then I need to convince them, then I need them to change and they have all the power and I'm stuck until they do. So that's really disempowering. And also disillusioning, right, it's like, well, I have this information. And yet, nothing's changing. Right, I've, I've come to this revelation, I'm autistic, it didn't come with any change. It didn't come with a vision for solutions that isn't individualistic. It didn't come with an accurate and positive way to communicate differences or a manual for how to make sense of all of this. And it doesn't come with tangible support most often, or the support that comes with it is a complete misreading of the entire situation, and what would actually help you. So that initial revelation of wow, I get now I've struggled. And now you feel hope that can eventually give way to feeling stuck, right? I feel completely lost, I don't know where to start, nothing is working, feeling like you have no power to change it, you try and change things and it doesn't work. And you're nothing sticks, right? Because this belief is still active. And so even if you create a little bit of evidence to show that there's possibility, the belief will come into play, and you will find ways to discount it or sabotage it. And then so you've done all these internet wide, deep dives, you've consumed tonnes of content. You've saved all the infographics and you've read all the blog posts and the books. There are these glimpses right there are these recognition of what I do there. And yeah, that's me and like, begins to normalise some of the things that that you perhaps previously didn't allow to be your normal, right? And maybe even told some people maybe you've you have the information, right? You understand why, why you struggled, why things aren't working, why the system is fucked. And yet in your actual life, knowing the why having that information hasn't solved anything. And not enough has changed. And so where it's explained the problem, it hasn't actually given you the solution, right, still missing the house, you're still missing, like your how to actually see myself in a way that that the leads to me knowing what to do? And how do I be seen in a way that is positive and accurate and acknowledges all of this? And how do I even know who the self I'm trying to be is, what works and what choices to make and how to start being that person how to manage my energy and when time and how to be the the sides of me that I didn't think were possible that I didn't know. Were part of who I am, and how to do life right how to do life in a way that makes you being you possible. And it's sustainable over the long term. And that gets you what you want and need how like how to solve the problem that is your life, right? And so I know this can be completely overwhelming because you're looking at your day to day and worrying that it's never going to change like that social certain social interactions will always be there. anxiety inducing that you'll never get a handle on your time and your energy enough to make your true like what you really deep down want to happen actually happen. And that you'll always be stuck in these cycles of automatic masking, hiding and self negating and burning out and recovering, recovering in private, and all of this energy getting used up and not being paid for recovery. And that you will lose those parts of yourself that aren't being expressed that you don't even though who that who that is that you sense it, but you feel like that just feels impossible. And the only option is to keep compromising, and invisibly over adapting, and wasting all your time and energy on stuff that doesn't work, right, or that doesn't lead to what you want, or that doesn't enable you to finish all the things you started. Or to feel like when you have an idea when you there have something that you want that you can actually do it. And so then your experience of your life might be that you have to keep not being yourself, in order to maintain what you do have, right, which is a mediocre level of okayness. But it's not you living fully expressed, it's not you living to your potential. It's not you being who you are, right. And it can feel like we're the map of how to actually do that doesn't exist. And it's not possible. Right. So if this is what you're feeling, just know that it's understandable that I had been to, that a lot of the people I work with that are in my programme, or that I work with one on one had them too, and that they're understandable because this is a systemic issue, right? The the world isn't designed with you in mind, still, even if you know it's not, the information doesn't change it. And you don't have the necessary break from all of the pressures in which to heal and reconfigure everything. And yeah, you're still seen as wrong or weird or lacking or like not enough, right? So, how to tackle this? How do we make this work? How do we shift this? How do you feel seen? How do you get unstuck? How do you find your way in a way that will actually work sustainably long term? And the to what you really want? And my answer is that it's possible. Okay. And that there there is the external systems there is the external dominance of consensus reality of structures of specific cultural norms and social rituals. And you know, that that exists, right. So, I'm not going to say that that doesn't exist, and that you can just solve it all by yourself. No, there is that. But there is also the habitual self that you've been being in response to all of that, right that you created in response to it. That is like your collection of coping mechanisms, that is your learned response to what doesn't work. And what that is, is a collection of habits is a collection of neural pathways. It's a collection of nervous system responses, that has become, over time, a habitual way of thinking and reacting and doing that has become just the way that you do things, the conclusions that you made the things that you thought you needed to do. And then over time, become the self that you are used to being. And so there's the systemic issues, there's the external, not on an internal level, there's also that this self that you created in response to what doesn't work is currently the only self you know how to be right. It's the only way that you know, how to respond to work doesn't work to those external circumstances. So the only way that you know how to make life work is by not being all of who you are. Only some of who you are, right, a version that requires a lot of energy to maintain and prop up and recover from. And that is a self that puts your own self connection last, right that is a self that has been told and shown to many times that this is your only option, and that you are wrong. And so on some level, since that's the world that you've been
socialised into, on some level, some part of you is believing that and it might not be consciously right You might not be consciously thinking I'm wrong, or I'm not enough, or I always have to do these compromises or I never get to have exactly how I want to do things be okay. Right, that might not be a conscious thing that you think. But deep down, this is what will be holding you back and keeping you stuck. And this is a belief that no amount of consuming information will shake off you, right? Because the information is just telling you about the problem. So for this to be addressed, for this to shift to get unstuck, means for you to realise that the only, the only way to make life work is for you to start really learning how you be yourself. Right is for you to be being yourself, right? That's the only way because then you get to have boundaries that are true to your body. You get to structure things in ways that actually work for you, and your energy and how you process and how you experience. Right. And it means that you being yourself is the only way that you can be in relationship with other people in ways that are begin to be equitable. So yes, the outside stuff, is there. Yes, those systemic barriers are there. But there is also who've been being in response. And how we change that external stuff starts within Who are we being in response, right? Who are we being that is in agreement with that, that is contributing to that that is allowing that that is maintaining that? Right, that is not making that the problem? And it starts with what are you believing about yourself? Systemic change starts in each and every one of us being the example and honouring who we are to ourselves first. Right, an external change starts inside it's about doing the inner work first. When I'm saying inner work, I'm not saying navel gazing. I'm not saying that you need to fix yourself. I'm saying unlearning the idea that you you are wrong, unlearning the habitual self, that create you created from the idea that you are not enough that you created in response to what doesn't work. And this means not waiting on other people or the systems to change before we can start doing that. Right? And you can you can wait. But I'm not about to spend my life waiting for that right? It has to start within, we have more way more agency way more power, then that option, right? When that inner work has to come before the outer work, because to even know what needs to change, you need to have clarity from within yourself to believe that you are worthy of asking for that change. Right and then asserting yourself accordingly. It means you trusting yourself, it means trusting that being in self connection can work for you. And that is a legitimate way to be. It means that you start believing acting like the future that you want, the things that you want to need are possible for you for that to even be a possibility, right. It means not acting in ways that agree with and allow what doesn't work, so that you can start to make progress in a way that is energising you, right that is affirming you that builds momentum around you being you that starts to resemble something that is healthy and sustainable for you that is realistic, and truthful to who you actually are. And we think oh no, that means it won't happen. The only way that life can happen for me is by not being myself. And I want you to receive today that No, the only way it's going to work is if you are being yourself. Now you don't have to know how yet the how unfolds is you start taking tiny brave steps outside this habitual self. And you start experiencing your authentic self in your own decisions in the choices that you are making. So that you begin bit by bit to start taking up your full power and agency to decide how to be in response to what doesn't work. And it means you having the self esteem to enlist people in your truth in why it matters to get them on board. It means you no longer downplaying yourself or seeing yourself in other people's eyes. eyes, and having other people's thoughts dictate how you live your life. Right? It means letting go of internalised ableism and shame so that you can feel worthy enough. So this is the only way that you then start to develop your specific how right they you start to discover and experience and find out your specific roadmap for how you do life, that doesn't lead to burnout and overwhelm. Right? That isn't about you already imagining that you have to compromise. It means that you decide, no, I already belong. And I get to make choices that make sense for me. And the response I get is information about what is or isn't for me. Right. So how the how unfolds as your courage to start being who you are, and being true to that increases. And the world will catch up, right, but not if we're waiting for it to change first. And your life will catch up to. And it will reflect and support you when you're believing that you are worthy of that and that it is possible. And you are starting to make choices and decisions according to that. And it is possible I see my clients step into that right I see the people I work with, I see them start rearranging how they relate to their lives and their work and the people in it. I see them setting new boundaries, I see them communicating why this matters. I see them having the space to acknowledge and process, the pain and the struggle that they've been through and start to transmute that and alchemize that into, you know what that shows me what will work. And it shows me what I can now say no to, so that I can create the space for the things that are actually what I want that I actually value that will actually work for me, and that I care about. And they're doing that because they're choosing to back the possibility that being themselves is the only way to make life work. They're choosing to put their energy and their time and their focus and their attention into what they can control, which is what are they thinking and believing and doing? What is the reality that they're choosing to step on a solid ground and say no, this is sustainable, this is realistic, this is actually my path. And then this means that the goal shifts from wanting to argue for other people to change and waiting for that change and feeling a victim to it. And the new goal becomes unlearning and relearning how to actually be who you are in this world. And that it's okay that you don't know how to do that yet. And it's okay if your ultimate instinct is to hide or is to argue for your reality, or is to push against or rebel, right? And it's okay because changing that, right finding new tools, new ways of responding doesn't require anything from any anyone else. Right? It's it's in your power. And this doesn't mean that you need fixing this is you're already enough. So what would you be doing if you really believe that? My sensory siblings, my clients, my sensory siblings are making the kinds of choices that they didn't think was possible. Right? They are starting businesses, they are creating services that have never existed before. They're inventing things for people like them. They are writing books, they are rewriting their past. They're owning their craft and their strength and the fact that they do things differently, and they have different needs. They are moving countries, they're refusing the roles that they've been given. They're reinventing how they show up to relationships. They are working through and letting go of the learned impulse to justify and explain and translate themselves. They're bringing people into their reality. They're setting new boundaries, they're getting clear on their values. They're embodying the version of themselves, that feels good to them that feels like they don't have to try that they don't have to preconceive it. And they're not apologising for who they are. So if this all speaks to you, if you are wanting to
work on this right to get unstuck, you've done enough of the research, you've consumed enough information, and now you actually want to change, right, you actually want to change your life so that it actually fits you and reflects you and supports you. And you know, it starts in your relationship to yourself. I want to invite you to join me for a live workshop. This is an updated version of a signature Workshop that I've done a few years ago. And it's called How to be autistic when autism is based on outdated paradigms. And this is really about how do we stop being ourselves when moleskin hiding is a systemic issue? How do we address this, starting within the primary relationship that we have, which is the one that we have with ourselves, that's the only map you need. Because when that is good, when you are good with you, everything else falls in line to match that because for you to be good with you, means that you think and you do things that are in your truth, and anything that doesn't fit that has to be replaced and transformed and restructured and repositioned. And you being good with you then repositions you to receive back what you being you put out, right to be reflected to be seen, you get to find out who you are, when you aren't over adapting and half being yourself. And that you do get to make choices. And you do have tools for how to deal with this world. That mean you can navigate it and be yourself and make it work because you are being yourself. So this all opens up when you shift out of believing that the only way you make life work is by not being yourself. And you start realising that the only way is by being yourself. And all you've got to do is figure out that bit right what that looks like for you. And that journey of discovering that is deeply enlivening. Right, it opens things up. And it also transforms everything that you went through into a reason why you now get to experience a life that belongs to you. So if you're wanting to join me, I'm going to get into how do we do this? How do you unlearn who you're not and start being yourself? And, and what does that look like? And what does that path involve? Then please join me it's happening on the 22nd of March 1pm. Before this podcast episode ends, I invite you to open the show notes and click the link and register and I will see you then. Alright sibling love you lots. Bye