Discover the Best Way to Talk To Yourself (On the Autism Spectrum)

She was blind. She was deaf. She was enraged. She was a problem child no-one wanted to deal with.

self-talk

Until, after a long series of teaching moments, Annie Sullivan taught Helen Keller how to communicate. Because of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller learned not only to communicate, but went on to become one of the wisest and most influential people of her time. She still speaks years after leaving planet Earth.

I don’t know about you, but I have gotten discouraged, down, self-doubting, wondering if I have anything left to give.
And it’s during these times that it’s so important that you and I have a helpful way of communicating with ourselves.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychologist in the 1970’s, studied a concept called learned helplessness. It was the idea that certain people, after a series of experiences they experience as disempowering, will “give up.” They tell themselves, via self-talk (the things they say to themselves, the thoughts they think) that they are no good, that bad incidents that happen prove it, and that their poor quality of living will always be that way.

However, years later, he became curious about how people who tend to ride the waves of life and not be buried in the surf perceive themselves and their lives. He found out that these people have very different ways of viewing themselves, events around them, and the world. They have a different way of talking to themselves, a different thought process!

If you are a human being, you have certain limitations. We all do! If you are an individual on the autism spectrum, you are gifted with talents, but you also will experience down times. I hope that the following article will be helpful to you.

I wrote this article a while ago on my other blog, Personal Success Factors. I thought I would share it with you now:

Self-Talk

Did you know that you are talking to yourself? No, you are not cracking up! However, you are continuously communicating to yourself through the way you think to yourself, view things, and the images you create in your mind. This communication is called self-talk. I don’t know about you, but most of the messages I get from media and people around me tend to be more negative and optimistic.

One of the biggest differences between successful people and unsuccessful people is the tendency to be reactive and not proactive. In other words, they are passive listeners, receiving the messages from TV and radio in an unthinking fashion, so that they tend to absorb those messages and incorporate them into their thinking.

Successful people, on the other hand, take charge of the information that goes into their minds. They know that they can feed on junk food and produce junk food results, or they can consciously filter and choose what they decide to put into their mind: they feed on mental power vegetables.

As you go into the next week, I would urge you to take an inventory about what you listen to and read during the days of your life. Do you passively view and listen to junk food TV programs, radio shows, and negative opinions. Or do you seek to read quality content, listen to optimistic messages, and view valuable shows that will add value to your thinking and positive results to your life?

An example of positive sources of mental food that I choose to “eat” during the week: daily time in the Bible; 15 minutes of personal development at Morning Coach; reading quality books both in my field and fictional works as well, and quality blogs (for example, Zen Habits, Life Optimizer, and Cultivate Greatness, although there are many more).

One key success factor resource you will want to add to your mental war-chest is positive affirmations that will empower your brain. Think of it as filling up on high-grade gas in order to drive effectively throughout the week. I borrowed these positive affirmations from Zig Ziglar‘s Success for Dummies. As Zig states, “You should look yourself in the eye as you make these positive affirmations. Don’t be shy; go ahead and get started! I would challenge you to print these out, laminate them, and read them aloud in the car on the way to work in the morning, and prior to retiring at night:

  • I clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday really did end last night; and that success isn’t final and failure is not fatal because I only fail if I quit.
  • I have the courage to admit a mistake and to say that I was wrong.
  • I have vision in my life.
  • I utlize every minute well to maximize my ability.
  • I am successful because I believe that to be truly educated, I must be mentored–either in business or in my personal life, by reading or by association–by superior minds with greater skills and mature spirits.
  • I discipline myself to do the things that I need to do when I need to do them, because I know that doing them will enable me someday to do the things I want to do when I want to do them.
  • I clearly understand that if I develop yearning power and apply learning power, I will increase my earning powers.
  • I have written, specific goals for my life, and I review them daily.
  • I have a great sense of humor, and I have the ability to laught at myself.
  • I am like an eraser. I recognize my mistakes, I learn from my mistakes, and then I erase those mistakes from my memory.
  • I move forward every day, even if it’s only a tiny step, because I know that great things are accomplished with tiny moves, but nothing is accomplished by standing still.

One other powerful set of Zig Ziglar affirmations I have used over the years with great success is found here. I urge you to use these affirmations daily. If you use these positive affirmations on a daily basis, you will see some very positive results after 30 days. Write me and let me know about the positive results that you bring into your life.

P.S. I would like to share with you a couple of resources that I have used in addition to those listed in this article.

First, stop by by two different blogs that I’ve come to enjoy.

Advanced Life Skills, by Jonathan Wells, is a great blog covering a whole range of personal development topics. I think you’ll enjoy his take on life.

Change Your Thoughts, a blog by Steven Aitchison, is another excellent resource for helping you develop positive and healthy attitudes of living.

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, is Dr. Seligman’s book that paved the way to positive psychology research.

Thoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life (Workbook), by McKay and Fanning is one of my all-time favorite workbooks. I recommend it to the majority of the clients I work with in my counseling practice.

Finally, here is another one of my favorite sites, and all the information there is free! Therapy Worksheets is a comprehensive resource of worksheets that can help you learn better ways to speak to yourself regarding a whole variety of conditions.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please share it with others or leave your comments!

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I'm Steve Borgman. I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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