The Price of Pride

Our struggles are essential parts of our lives, no matter how cruel or unwelcome they may be. We NEED to hurt in order to truly live, grow, and love, and that’s a tough realization to come to. Many people structure their lives in ways that are safe yet incredibly damaging. I’ve met countless individuals who shut themselves away in their dark bedrooms and waste away in front of  TV screens, never daring to step outside because that fear of pain through risk is always present. They would love to go out and experience life and all of the possibilities it presents, but that crippling terror always overpowers that desire for more. But here’s the kicker. A life without risks is a life without joy, and to those of you shaking your heads and calling me crazy, let me explain. Let’s use relationships as an example. Relationships have the greatest potential to bring us immeasurable joy, and yet they are some of the biggest leaps of faith we can ever take. Everyone needs human interaction to some degree, which is a scientific fact. We’re social creatures, born with an insatiable appetite for love and acceptance that can only be achieved through socializing. The same goes for simply stepping onto your front porch. That’s a risk, too. There’s always that unlikely possibility that a truck could come barreling down your street, lose control, and crash into your house. Will that happen? Probably not. But you simply can’t deprive yourself of a full life because you’re scared.

You may be asking, “What’s your point?” My point, inquisitive reader, is that if you struggle so much that it keeps you from living, seek help. There’s no shame in asking for help or advice, and there’s no point in putting off your own happiness. A distinguishing characteristic of a mature person versus an immature person is that one who is mature always knows when they need help. No one can tackle this whole “life” thing alone, and the sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can let others in and live the life you deserve.

I lived over half of my life so far in paralyzing fear, constantly aware that I was suffering but too proud and arrogant to actually do something about it. I moved through my school years in a hazy stupor brought on by my own numbness, never realizing how wonderful life can be if you just let someone else in. Therapists tried to help, but I never cracked. My parents worked tirelessly to pick my brain and help me find joy, but I didn’t let them. This endless cycle continued for years, and I suffered so much because of my own stubborn reluctance to accept the help I so desperately needed. My pride came with a terrible, terrible price, and it prolonged my suffering and gave power to my fears.

Second, objective opinions are so vital to better understanding how you work, and yet most people are so terrified of the very idea of someone else knowing who they are. You might think you’re more secure when you shut yourself away, but that line of thinking is so wrong. Think about it this way: If shutting yourself away is supposed to make you feel safer, why are you still so terrified? Why is every day heartbreaking and discouraging?

What if you had someone there for you at all times? What if you had a safety net that could catch you when you fall, hold you when you are hurt, and give you complete security? Doesn’t that sound much safer than destroying yourself with your own fear and doubt?

If there’s anything to take from this essay, it’s that no one is alone. There’s always someone there to listen, but sometimes you have to take the initiative and find them. Confiding in another person is one of the bravest, most responsible acts you can ever commit, because it shows you love yourself enough to recognize that your current coping strategies are not working and that you need new ones.

I urge you, all of you, to seek help if you need it, and to recognize when life gets the better of you and you need that safety net. Not doing so is the greatest disservice you can ever do, both to yourself and to everyone who loves you.

10 thoughts on “The Price of Pride

  1. Hayden, this is such an incredible truth which needs to be shed light on for everyone of us. You have explained it so well. I have not long come across your amazing facebook page and company. You are both amazing, and will bless many. What you and your families have had to suffer and endure will now help to bring healing and freedom to so many others. Awesome! I am sharing your page with many. Love and God bless you all . x

  2. Hey < Jeff Waite, this is so true. Each person alone knows what they need and can handle and boundaries should be respected and no one "pushed" to socialize or perform more than they are ready or capable. A famous quote says 'When the student is ready the teacher will appear'.

  3. Great website and wonderful inspirational posts. Thanks for all you do for Autism and Asperger’s. You are making a difference!

  4. Many people with Asperger’s, know they need help, even above and beyond whatever help they get from current support services. However it is important for all of use to clearly identify what it is we want to do and therefore specifically what help we actually looking for to live life to the full

    Identifying our difficulties is the first step, and acknowledging this is half the batter.

    Then the next step is to tell someone we trust and be honest about what help we need. Unfortunately, much of the generic asperger’s support services, run by neurotypicals fails to provide the specific type of social support people with asperger’s need, so getting the right help can be hard to find. However being honest and clear is a big step, and this way it is possible for all of us to find the people to help us in our specific situations.

    As an example, (this is a generalisation) most of the support for social skills for asperger’s is supplied by middle-aged women, teachers or parents, to asperger’s clients who are usually younger men. This is often too generic and not really targeted at a guy with AS that has a more clear and specific idea of what social life he wants, and needs to know how he can access the right social circles for him.

    It may not be easy but knowing what we want out of life and the help we need to get there is a vital first step that enables us all to work out our next step and press on from there.

  5. My daughter is aspie and she is quite happy with her own company. For years this was a problem……. For me!!
    I was always trying to arrange social things for her, we’d go to someone’s house and she’d go sit in a corner and read a book.
    I’ve now come to accept that if she’s happy staying at home all weekend by herself,then it’s not my place to push her toix with people. She has 4 friends, but seeing them out of school once a week is enough.
    She tells me she is happy doing her own thing by herself. She does love chatting via Skypeuch better than face to face.

  6. i feel so fortunate to have found your blog and website! thank you so much for having the courage to tell us what is important to you and others. i am a special ed. teacher who will take all of your info to my next interview to share with admin and special ed. ‘experts’. sharing with my former students right now!!! thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
    yours sincerely,

  7. Wow! I’m 60 years old. After my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 13, I learned all I could about it and came to realize that that’s part of who I am as well. This piece of yours really hits home. I will share this with my son and I hope that, if I read it over and over again, your wisdom will get through and teach this old dog new tricks. One of my favorite quotes, from Pope Paul VI, is “Nothing makes one feel so strong as a call for help.” That can be interpreted two ways…both of which I can understand…and both of which I have experienced. Give help when you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

  8. Heya Peeps,

    As an aspie I can tell you I do not avoid social contact out of fear but out of not needing as much of it as most people do. Too much is stressful and hard to bear. A lot of Neurotypicals assume we need as much socialization as they do and make the mistake of trying to push us into more than we can comfortably handle. Yes, as an aspie we get burned when we try to socialize as bullies and predators seem to be able to smell us out. Yes some folks become withdrawn as a result of this. I would caution everyone, however, not to assume this is the reason why an aspie is not as socialized as you might wish for them. Let them be as socialized as THEY wish for them. Much damage is done by people that think they know what is good for someone more so than they do for themselves. Worse yet, if you cause an aspie to lose trust for you, you will likely never regain it. Just sayin’

    Jeff Waite

  9. Well said, you really hit the nail on the head. I wish you had been around 10 years ago. Thank you for your insight, service and wisdom!!!


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