As humans, we go through life through the lens of our own perception, our own experiences. It’s normal.
It’s part of how we’re wired — we innately assume that others view and experience the world the same way we do.
I like chocolate. You should like it too.
I see the color red. Of course you see the color red too.
I like this music. You should enjoy it too.
This is easy for me. It should be easy for you, too.
These assumptions are vital.
They help us connect with others, think as a group, streamline planning processes, and for the most part, these things are true.
Most people enjoy chocolate.
Most people like sunny days.
Most people will sing along to a classic pop song or Christmas carol.
But then there are outliers.
Society doesn’t do well with outliers, especially those who reject the “norms” of what is generally considered “good” or “acceptable”. Doesn’t like a sunny day? Doesn’t enjoy the beach? What’s wrong with him? (Sensory overwhelm, if you must know)
Doesn’t enjoy a concert, or prefers reading a book to mundane social exchanges? Must be something wrong.
The hardest thing of all
Some people can accept quirky, can accept differing preferences, but there’s one thing that flummoxes most people:
If it’s easy for them, it should be easy for you. They have a very hard time understanding why you’re struggling.
Why is it so hard to keep your room clean?
Why can’t you just go up and introduce yourself to someone new?
Riding a bike is easy — everyone can do it.
You mean you’re ____ years old, and someone still has to remind you to ____?
Just sit still and keep your hands to yourself. Is that so hard? (Yes!)
The biggest gift we can give someone is unconditional acceptance.
With that unconditional acceptance comes permission to struggle in areas we think should be simple, not to give them a free pass to never work on it but to validate that for them, this is hard. Really hard.
No matter what area of life.
Even if, to you, it’s a piece of cake.
So… thanks for being there. Thanks for walking with your kids as they navigate this sometimes crazy and confusing world. They will grow. They will learn skills and coping mechanisms, and they will do so in the context of a caring, supportive relationship, even when it’s hard.