When autistic people take the time to tell us what it's like to be autistic, listen.
When transgender people take the time to tell us what it's like to be transgender, listen.
When women take the time to tell us what it's like to be women, listen.
When homeless people take the time to tell us what it's like to be homeless, listen.
So often I see and hear folks (including, once upon a time, me) discount the experiences shared by people different than them because that's not how they see it. That's not what they think it is.
But..... what? How would we know? How?
If we don't listen, if we aren't willing to hear and learn and re-think our assumptions, if we remain foolish enough to assume we can know the experiences of others by telling them what we think they should experience..... well, I don't want to follow this thought.
Let's listen. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it means we must momentarily feel someone else's pain and confusion. Sometimes it means we are complicit in a cruelty that we believed ourselves far from ever being part of. More than sometimes it means seeing things differently and knowing for a challenging moment how often we've been bullies in our past.
Let's listen. When we take the time to tell others what it's like to be us and we're invited to share our honest hearts and deepest reasons, we should listen to our own tale. Hear who we believe ourselves to be, and know that while sharing with others we are able to tweak and build our own selves with intention.
Let's listen. Because when people take the time to share with us their truth, and when we take the time to share our own, we are being given a gift that is bigger than us and them. We are being given a gift that gives continuously, longer than our own lifetimes.
But it's a gift that can only give when accepted openly and honestly.
Step into the new year with me,
Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)