Image-inary

I’m sure all of us wonder how we are seen by our fellowmen. Image is very important in society. We spend our lives trying to stage a convincing performance to guarantee others will see us the way we want to be seen. Well, you only get the part when you look the part.

Being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome may affect how you see yourself and it can affect the way others see you. It’s fair to say a behavioral disorder influences the way a person interacts with others. Does a person with Asperger’s have a choice in how others view him? Does he have a choice in how he sees himself?

The Truth

Having Asperger’s does not mean there is something wrong with you. It doesn’t automatically mean you struggle with anything whether it is schoolwork or relationships. All it means is you have a diagnosis. It is nothing more than a label invented for the sake of other people. It has no meaning to you because the label cannot predict who you are and how you will grow.

Other people have their own expectations and predictions about those diagnosed with Asperger’s. A man once asked me if having Asperger’s meant I was really good at math. I said, “Yes. I can also read minds.” The image most people carry with them of those with autism is of a sad person who doesn’t understand the world and the people in it. Many people try to ascribe value to me by looking at my talents and telling themselves Asperger’s gives me mental powers so that makes me an adequate human being.

Everyone struggles with something. A person with Asperger’s is just a man like anyone else. He has his own journey with its assortment of trials and triumphs. Each trial and triumph is his and is not to be credited to some label society has given him.

The Choice

How do you want to be seen? The image we have of ourselves helps us to feel valued. A specific image conjures an emotional reaction out of people. If you see yourself as a person with a disability, then you put yourself at a lower value than others. If you see yourself as a human being with talents and ideas, then you rate yourself a little higher.

We can help other people to see us the way we want to be seen. A person with Asperger’s can strive to represent himself well despite any personal struggles he faces. Most people want to see value in us and it begins by us being confident in the value we already see inside.

The power is in each of us to change the way people view Asperger’s. It may be a struggle, but I can safely say it isn’t Asperger’s that makes it difficult.

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