Through a child’s eyes

Having any sort of disorder can make a person have to grow up a little bit faster. I remember being a little girl, first diagnosed and not having a care in the world because I was not yet aware of people’s prejudice against being different. I knew it on a surface level, but I didn’t really understand it.

I feel like sometimes as adults we can become jaded due to not only negative memories from our childhood, in which we have come to see a situation for what it was, but also to things we experience once that adult awareness comes in. It’s easier to get hurt and to feel anger or resentment toward others. Compound that with all the other things that come to our attention as we traverse through adulthood.

It’s so easy for us to forget that not everything is personal and that people’s ignorance and fear of the unknown is often what rules their cruelty. When we were children, hopefully, our parents took care of any issues we had and stood up or spoke out for us anytime we encountered antagonism or animosity from peers or elders.

However, once we become adults we have to become our own advocates and that’s hard. We may still have assistance from parents, friends or colleagues, but mostly it is up to us. So how do we do it?

Not everyone has the innate ability to confront someone who has committed a wrong against them or a loved one. Some are pacifists, some are passive-aggressive and others still just weren’t taught how to stand up for themselves.

I am a pacifist and sometimes when I am confronted with situations such as these I get nervous, shaky, and/or forget what I want, need or should say. The key is to take baby steps. Start with little things such as calmly telling someone that what they said was inappropriate.

Also, make sure that you have an advocate go with you or practice what you would say in certain situations or what you are going to say if a situation has arisen where you need to speak up. Note: It’s OK to have cue cards to help you remember what to say. Don’t allow the person to interrupt you and if they do, persevere. Dealing with these things comes easier with time, practice and maturity.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that even if you do have to confront someone, you don’t have to do it in an insulting or threatening manner. It can be done without screaming and yelling and spoken in a calm, yet firm voice.

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