Don’t Let Anyone Limit You

I want to talk about a personal experience I had. When I was just heading out of college, my psychologist told me two things. One was that I couldn’t achieve my goal of being a professor because I was “too weird.” The other was that my writing was awful. I knew at the time that I could teach in a one-on-one session at the very least, and definitely that I could write. I was heartbroken and my world seemed to be turned upside down. But what I know now that I didn’t know before was that he was setting limits on me. And I made the mistake of believing him. I thought he was right. But he wasn’t, and neither is anyone who tries to set limits on you.

Are we limited in what we can do? Absolutely. You, me, and anyone who exists in the world is. For instance, I can cook pasta, but that’s about it. I can’t draw a straight line to save my live. But I’ve found that out by examining my skill set. But only you and your child know what you or your child’s skill set is.

If your child is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and if your psychologist says that your child won’t amount to anything—he’s wrong. Maybe he is challenged by life skills or something that limits him, sure, but he is able to amount to something and he is able to do something with his life just the same. Maybe he or she can play an instrument or dance. That’s a skill that can be turned into something. Also, who says he can’t become an overnight Internet sensation? Maybe he won’t hold a job, but you never know until you try. Sometimes, I even surprise myself!

But when someone tells you that you can’t do something, don’t listen to them. That’s not their place. What you should, instead, be given (or do for yourself) is encouragement and support to find your, or your child’s, limits. What skill set does he or she have? What life skills does he or she need to work on? After all, if you let someone tell you what to do, you could go through life having no clue what you are missing.

A final thought is that one of our central strengths as adults is the knowledge of what our skill set is. And that is a strength in itself that will help guide us for the rest of our lives.

GREG TRUTNER

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