Do you ever feel totally incompetent and powerless in the midst of an interaction with a child with autism?
It is precisely the willingness to be ‘naked’ (figuratively speaking, of course) and to risk showing others that we don’t have all the answers that is a sign that we are still open to authentic human experiences – still connected and very much open to growth.
Don’t get me wrong: feeling vulnerable can really suck – yep, I think that’s the best word to describe it. Self -doubt, uncertainty and a lack of answers can be downright miserable. But, the opposite – to be guarded, to offer cookie cutter expertise and self -righteousness responses are “suits of armor” that are far more destructive to relationships and progress. Egos tell us that we should be in control; we should know what to do – we should not be weak. Egos don’t know how to love anyone but themselves.
Acknowledging our vulnerability allows us to show up and be truly present without all the answers. It allows us to be brave. One life giving itself to another life with no guarantees- no promise of success, no certainty that we won’t look stupid or that we won’t mess up. This is love.
What matters most is that I show up and give everything I have got to the child who needs me. No bravado, no veil of expertise. I need this child as much as he needs me. He keeps me real. He reminds me that human love is messy. It requires authenticity a willingness to feel the fear – to be scared and stay engaged anyway. It is in the messiness, the openness to being hurt that our purpose can be found. Compassion and love live in the messiness. I am delighted that you still feel vulnerable. Be brave. Our kids with autism need you more than you know.
I wish you love, compassion, human connection and moments of utter joy on your journey!
Author’s Note: The ideas above come from a woman who has changed the way I parent, teach and the way I see myself: Brene Brown. I highly recommend Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.