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When is a C+ an A+?

30 Sep

More often than you might expect.

Excepting the best of yourself is healthy and motivating, right? All individuals should set high expectations. But, how high? How do we know when they are needlessly high? So high that they cause more distress than success?

I suppose for some of us it’s simple to realize. “A 98% is the same as a 100%.” “That is close enough.” “I did my best.” “Hey, I’m failing at this and I don’t need to.” But what happens when you lack the perspective to compare your best, your ideal, and your actual performance? What happens when rose-colored glasses are replaced by blinders?

I often forget how high of a standard the individuals I work with hold for themselves. They often have a tendency to ace or fail. They either get it better than anyone on the face of the earth or don’t give a rats’ you know what, at all. What is most dangerous is when they DO “get it” but don’t think they do — not to be confused with, not getting it but thinking you do. I know, I know, all of this “getting it” and “not getting it” is getting rather, well, annoying. The bottom line is this: Individuals with Asperger’s hold themselves up to an ideal that is often unattainable such that their anxiety, self-esteem, and other mental health variables are negatively impacted.

The question is: How do we help them change that? I, for one, don’t want anyone I care about to experience life feeling as though they must be the perfect locker-opener, the perfect street-crosser, the perfect passer-outter. So, how do we establish what matters? All of the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques in the world aren’t addressing this issue.

How have you helped yourself or loved one realize the beauty of imperfection?

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