Life often presents us with unexpected challenges, and sometimes we find ourselves confronted with traumatic events that shake the very foundations of our being. While such experiences can be incredibly painful and disruptive, they also have the potential to become catalysts for personal growth and transformation. This phenomenon is known as post-traumatic growth (PTG). Post-traumatic growth provides practical strategies for embracing and fostering positive transformation.
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In today's world, there is an increasing awareness about the way the brain works. The understanding that neurodivergent individuals, those with neurological differences such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, aren't "disabled" or "wrong" for the way their brains operate is becoming more mainstream (thank goodness!).
This means that the conversation around masking is getting more robust, allowing for increased understanding and connection. Masking refers to the act of suppressing one's true neurodivergent traits and mimicking neurotypical behavior in order to fit into societal norms. Sadly, even though awareness is increasing on this topic, neurodivergent individuals often face pressure from the neurotypical majority to mask their differences, leading to profound challenges and potential harm to their mental health and overall well-being.
Neurotypical society tends to operate on a set of unwritten rules and social norms that may not align with the natural behavior of neurodivergent individuals. From an early age, neurodivergent individuals may encounter pressure to conform to these expectations, with society insisting that they "act normal" or "fit in." While the intention behind this demand might be to help neurodivergent individuals navigate social situations more easily, the long-term consequences can be distressing.
Masking requires neurodivergent individuals to constantly suppress their true selves, which can be mentally and emotionally draining. The effort to mimic neurotypical behavior and suppress natural tendencies can lead to a sense of disconnection from one's authentic identity. This ongoing struggle often results in increased anxiety, depression, and overall psychological distress. Furthermore, the perpetual demand to mask can create a pervasive feeling of inadequacy and can undermine an individual's self-esteem.
The expectation to mask can also obscure the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals. When someone successfully masks their differences, their struggles may go unnoticed, leading others to assume that they do not require accommodations or support. As a result, neurodivergent individuals may find it harder to receive the necessary understanding, resources, and accommodations that would otherwise help them thrive.
By pressuring neurodivergent individuals to conform to neurotypical standards, society inadvertently suppresses the valuable contributions and unique perspectives that neurodiversity brings. Many of history's greatest minds and innovators were neurodivergent, and their unique ways of thinking and problem-solving have often led to groundbreaking discoveries and advancements. Embracing neurodiversity and allowing individuals to express their authentic selves benefits not only those individuals but society as a whole.
Remember, neurodivergent individuals fit in great, have excellent communication, and experience ease in relationships with other ND's! It is not that they "don't fit in" - it is that they struggle to fit in with NT's, or, you could say that NT's struggle to fit in with ND's. That is equally as true. It is important to understand that there is simply different ways that the brain works, and one is not "right" and the other "wrong", they are simply different.
As an Authenticity Coach, my diagnosis helped me deepen into my authenticity with more clarity and permission. It allowed me to get to know and understand part of myself from a new perspective and with more knowledge and information. As I've educated myself on this topic, and personal done the work in my life, it has allowed me to help other individuals on the same path. Below, I'm going to share a few of the ways that my autism and masking has impacted my life.
I also want to note that most people (yup, even family) were surprised or in disbelief about my diagnosis. The most interesting thing to me was that some people seemed to have a heavy resistance to accepting it. It almost felt like they didn't want to update their view of me or accept that I might have been struggling with this for my entire life. Some of the neurotypical in my life were almost defensive when I shared with them some of the ways that I had been masking. I heavily relied on my communication, compassion & self-advocacy skills to navigate this part of my journey.
Here are 5 ways that my neurodiverse brain works differently then the neurotypical brain, how I've personally struggled with masking, and the tools I've used to deepen my authenticity, build more connected relationships, and increase my peace.
It is essential for neurotypical to recognize and respect the right of neurodivergent individuals to be themselves without the need for constant masking. Building a culture of acceptance involves educating ourselves about neurodiversity, challenging preconceived notions, and creating inclusive environments where individuals of all neurological profiles can thrive. By fostering understanding, empathy, and appreciation for neurodiversity, we can create a society that values the strengths and contributions of all its members.
The demand for neurodivergent individuals to mask their differences in everyday life imposes a heavy burden that can have detrimental effects on their mental health and overall well-being. It is crucial for neurotypical to acknowledge and respect the neurodivergent experience, allowing individuals to embrace their unique traits and contribute to society authentically. By promoting acceptance and celebrating neurodiversity, we can create a more inclusive world where everyone can flourish.
It you relate to this article, and would like to discuss coaching in this area, please schedule a free session with me.
Life is filled with ups and downs, and at times, we all face challenges that test our resilience. One of the most profound challenges a person can experience is trauma. Whether it's the loss of a loved one, a serious illness, or a natural disaster, trauma can leave deep scars on our hearts and minds. However, in the midst of adversity, there is also an opportunity for growth. This is known as post-traumatic growth (PTG).
What is Post-Traumatic Growth?
Post-traumatic growth is a term coined by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun in the 1990s. It refers to the positive psychological changes that can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic event. PTG does not mean that trauma is beneficial or desirable, but rather it recognizes that individuals can experience personal growth and transformation as a result of their struggles.
The five domains of post-traumatic growth are:
How Does Post-Traumatic Growth Occur?
Post-traumatic growth is a complex and individualized process. It does not happen automatically, nor is it experienced by everyone who undergoes trauma. The journey towards PTG involves active engagement and deliberate efforts to make meaning out of the traumatic experience. Here are some key factors that contribute to post-traumatic growth:
Post-Traumatic Growth is a Journey
It is important to recognize that post-traumatic growth is not a linear process. It takes time, patience, and self-compassion. Some days may be more challenging than others, and setbacks are normal. Healing and growth occur in their own time and at their own pace.
If you are struggling to find your way towards post-traumatic growth, consider seeking professional help. Therapists, counselors, or support groups can provide guidance and support throughout your journey. As I coach, I offer free consultations and because I want my services to be available to everyone, I work with each individual to find a price that is fair and feels good to them. If you're looking for support in your life, I'd love to discover if we're a good fit for working together.
Mindy Amita Aisling
Life Coaching for Big-Hearted Overthinkers & Entreprenerds
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Mindy Amita Aisling, is a professionally trained and board-certified leadership, authenticity, and entrepreneur coach.
Mindy exceeds all requirements set forth by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) for Master Coach certification.
Mindy is also a licensed mediator, communications coach, and conflict resolution practicer. As a mediator, she has worked both in private practice and as a court appointment mediator at her local county courthouse.
Through her innovative approach, she assists clients in examining their limiting beliefs, questioning their assumptions about how the world works, and releasing the notion that they are anything less than perfect. As a result, individuals who work with Mindy cultivate the ability to stand firm in their beliefs, live authentically and decisively, and discover an experience of life that is easy and graceful.
In 2021, Mindy founded How to Be Human and Entreprenerd. These programs have enabled her to share her wisdom and knowledge with a broader audience in service of her vision of helping others live authentic lives This, in turn, has empowered more individuals to lead their most TRUE and COURAGEOUS lives.
When she is not working, Mindy can be found playing outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, creating art, spending time with friends & family, or with her nose deep in a book.
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