Connecting with a community and building emotional capacity is the left section of the AE Process, which was created by us at Asperger Experts based off of our own experiences living with Asperger’s 24/7.
The goal of establishing a solid community and a resilient emotional capacity is to be able to handle whatever life throws at you, by being able to emotionally process and relying on the community you are a part of to support you when necessary.
This starts with setting up your support system. That may mean finding a local support group near you, relying on family members, or joining a support group like our AE+ group.
Once you’ve set up your support system, now it is time to start to build trust. You’ll want to focus on finding people you can trust within the community you’ve joined, as well as building trust with your own internal self, and the physical environment that you are in. (Learn how to build trust here.)
Then we transition over to the “building emotional capacity” section of this step of the AE Process.
This part starts with self care. As the airlines say, “Put on your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others”. As we’ve said in this article, self care is IMPERATIVE. It is one of those “If you can’t, then you must” things. You’ll make time for the things that are important for you. Make time to eat healthier, sleep fully and truly take care of yourself.
If you’d like help with self care, join our AE+ support community and we’ll give you our guided, step-by-step self care course for free.
Next is Holding The Space, both for yourself and for others. Simply put, Holding The Space means being patient, practicing true Deep Listening, and allowing the person you are holding space for (which may be yourself) to be with their emotions and process their feelings.
The final step in this section of the AE Process is getting out of Defense Mode. Defense Mode is a state in which you are scared, disconnected, overwhelmed and defensive… and when you are in Defense Mode, it is almost impossible to learn or grow. (For more on Defense Mode click here.)
As you go through this and the other steps of the AE Process, keep in mind to go slow, take it one step at a time, and implement that step into your life. The more steps you complete, the better things will get, but remember, this isn’t a race!
Once you've gone through section, it's time to move onto the next section of the AE Process: Culture & Connection.