Monday, October 7, 2013

Autism Answer: Knee-Jerk Reactions

It's easy to love science, books, ideas, equations and analogies when they prove our own point. It's even more fun when they challenge us to step further down our path and grow an already budding understanding. However, when faced with a piece of news or information or idea that suggests we are completely wrong--or worse, complicit!--and have been making choices that have perhaps harmed us or our loved ones, it's much easier to just say no. 

I'll admit to having had many of these knee-jerk reactions. Like the doctors of old who refused to wash their hands when going from cadavers to laboring mothers (because if hand washing saved lives it would mean that they would have to accept having had a hand in killing patients when they hadn't known about hand washing) I have been known to not comfortably accept some new information. Worse, I've been known to get obnoxious about fighting for something just because I was doing it (or had done it) and I hated the idea that I had been so wrong. 

Luckily, I've become pretty comfortable (in recent years!) with the fact that it's okay to have been wrong, even if I may have caused harm, as long as I change the moment I realize I was wrong. So... 

If you learn something that challenges choices you have already made, don't automatically decide that it's garbage. Also, on the flip side, don't hurt yourself more by feeling like a horrible person. 

Take the time to decide if you believe this new information to be true, and if so... forgive yourself and change! 

All the ideas, science, beliefs and such out there are backed by smart, well-meaning people. It's more the refusal to be flexible and change with new information that harms us to a dangerous degree.

So, forgive your knee-jerk reactions. Then, be willing to think about them with an honest, open mind!! 

Hugs, smiles and love!!