Being a person on the Autism Spectrum and dealing with abuse from many places, I understand that being rejected is tough. Having Autism, I never felt that I fit in with the ‘normal’ children. I had to sit away from everyone in class and was seen as being weird or stupid. My family members did not seem to understand what I was going through because they didn’t have Autism.
I have been rejected many times and in many ways. I was rejected for jobs through email saying, “Dear Maverick, we regret to inform you that your application will not move forward, we encourage you to reapply.” For a long time I never got past the interview process and if I did, no feedback was given on the interview. Sometimes I had to log into my portal and find out my application was rejected three days ago and was never notified by anyone.
In the past there were employers where I would walk in with my resume and I was dressed sharp but I was automatically turned down. The reason why I was turned down was because of my facial expression, not being able to look someone in the eye, or I appeared to be stupid, slow, scared. All of these negative perceptions were because they did not understand me or what I was going through. Employers are not supposed to discriminate against you because of your disability but I had potential employers that did so with me, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
When I applied to graduate school, I applied to about three schools, and was denied by all three of them. In a previous blog I told you how many times I was denied admission from universities and the same for scholarships. Life is a competition and everyone is competing with each other trying to reach one goal whether it’s a job opportunity, scholarship, school, promotion or others. We are living in a society where ideally everyone can win a prize and we all should be winners. It’s good for children to believe that they are winners so that they can then have the confidence in themselves that they can do anything they put their mind to.
But when children become adults, they are in a reality where there exists only a few winners. In order to be the winner, you have to work hard and compete the best way you can against everyone else.
Sometimes it’s unfair, biased, and wrong but unfortunately this is how life is. It’s important that we give a child the fish early on in their life, so when they get old enough we teach them how to fish so they are able to do things for themselves.
Some people have titles and serve with different organizations so they are higher or more qualified than others which makes the competition much more difficult. I remember when I was working at a grocery store in the deli department, and there was this army veteran who walked right into a line for their meat and cheese to be sliced. In the line was an older woman, a young lady, a former employee and then the army veteran. This man cut in front of everyone and demanded that I serve him first because he served in the military.
He became irate when I told him, “My apologies sir but these three people were here first so once I’m finished with these three, I will be happy to help you.” This man begins to rant about his position, rank, age, branch and everything he did in the military and told me, “Sir, you are being rude and disrespectful, and I want to speak to your manager.” I called for a manager and they took a while to come but once they showed up, they told the man the same thing that I did.
He had never been told by anyone that because he had been in a position of power that did not make him superior to everyone else.
One thing in this world that we have to remember is that at the end of the day we are all human beings who are made of the same material inside. We may have different genders, race, sexual inclination, disability, jobs, degrees, dominations, religions, or many other things but we are no better than anyone else.
A person may be the best football player at their high school, the CEO at their job, high ranking in the military or a leader of some organization. But outside the high school, job, military or organization and in the real world, we are all a small grain of salt in the world like everyone else. We should have the same perception as children where if you put them into a room no matter what gender, race, or disability they have, they all play together.
Our society has to judge you on something and make decisions on perceptions that they see on the outside. I have used the example of an old violin that was being auctioned for less than three dollars – until a man began to play that violin and produced a great sound. The value of that old violin then went up to the thousands. You should never judge a book by its cover. Many of us may be broken, have loss of vision or hearing or be tired on the outside. But on the inside we have the biggest hearts and the toughest minds. It is the heart and mind that truly guides a person and inspires many others to get through difficult times.
A person with a ‘disability’ or, rather, ‘different ability’ can become a person who inspires so many and take us to limits higher than anyone can imagine.
An opportunity may be all they need and they can take it from there. It’s hard for those who came up in life like me, where many people did not believe in me or said I could not succeed because of my disability. So I had to do things my own way.
Whether you have Autism or not, everyone deals with rejection differently, some bounce back from it, some stop and give up, while others try again.
Everyone deals with things differently and having a disability or being non-typical can mean you are passed by for promotions, social functions, job offers, college admissions and many more. Any type of rejection is tough to deal with and I understand your pain so I have come up with five ways that can help you can overcome rejection. First, I encourage you to listen to a song titled, “Life,” by Barry White.
1. Recognize yourself
Despite being passed up, ignored, denied, or hurt, you can acknowledge these feelings. You have the ability for you to control your emotions during difficult times. The best way to deal with these emotions caused by rejections is to do so face to face. There is an old saying, “If it does not matter in 5 years, do not spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it.” (If it does not matter in the future, why worry about it in the present, focus on the more important things)
2. View it as “you’re doing the best you can”
All of it is feedback, so the more feedback you receive, the better you become. You are not always going to be accepted, and a rejection is just feedback that everyone receives in life at one time or another. When rejection occurs, do not become downhearted, there is always another opportunity. When you go out of your way and strive beyond your limitations, rejection can occur, and you should always give yourself credit because you are putting your best foot forward.
3. Change your thoughts
When you continue to respond in a negative way about being rejected (passed up for a promotion, fired, being denied enrolment in college), you only keep yourself down. It’s like adding wood to the fire, the fire is the rejection and the wood is the negative thoughts that run through your head. The wood just aggravates the fire, and the fire spreads and the pain escalates. The fire spreads throughout the land and decimates anything that comes near it. The fire is now the rejection and the negative thoughts are now destroying you from the inside and this can possibly lead to depression.
Not everyone is the same and this is what could happen when you allow rejection to overpower you. When rejection occurs, have positive talk inside of you saying, “It’s just feedback, it’s okay, you can do it.” Talk to a trusted friend, see a counselor, or get help. Never beat yourself up or be a harsh critic, remain positive.
4. Rejection does not define you
In life, there are many tools out there that people and organization use to define you. In school, they give you tests to measure how well you grasp the material. At work, they evaluate your performance, based on your attendance and overall outcomes. They measure your child’s behavior based on colors and words. The green means excellent, the yellow means good, the orange means fair, the red means needs improvement and the purple means unsatisfactory.
These, and many other methods people use to define one another but they do not serve as an accurate representation of who we are.
For example, just because you fail a test does not mean you’re dumb or don’t know the material. If you’re fired from a job it does not mean you’re incompetent, or a purple color sent home does not make your child bad. Grades and GPA never define a person, it is your character that defines you. If you’re fired from a job or denied a promotion there will always be another opportunity, and there is always a root cause for a child’s behavior. The bad thing about these tools is that the person eventually lives up to the results, such as thinking, “Getting a bad test grade means I’m incompetent, so I will act that way.”
Never allow negative results like a bad test grade to define you. You are far better. Value your self-worth and the positives in your life, and not some man-made system like an exam to define you, or what others think of you. Bad test grades, denied promotions, terminations from a job are only temporary and as stated previously, “If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t waste more than 5 minutes being upset.” Examine your accomplishment, talents, goals, aspirations or anything positive about you to define you.
5. Grow from it
In a verse of the song “Something Beautiful Remains,” Tina Turner sings: “For every life that fades, there something beautiful remains,” meaning for every bad situation, there is always something better down the road. At the end of a dark night, there is a brighter day; there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. Every bad situation serves as an opportunity to grow and develop in a positive way. It’s time to turn the negative into a positive, meaning, instead of being hurt, build from the experience.
There is always room for more improvement, and rejections are just an experience from which you can grow, develop, and prosper from. A rejection is an experience you can use to influence others about obstacles you have encountered and how they can deal with it, themselves, in a positive way.
Use the rejection to inspire others and to help you become confident so you can get through things far worse. You can handle this and it’s not going to define or stop you.
I encourage you all to listen to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite music group. It’s called “OPTIMISTIC” by The Sounds of Blackness. The Sounds of Blackness music group has made several great songs that will deals with positivity and uplifting a person during difficult times. There will always be competition in this cruel world but that is not important. What is important is your personal success. People with Autism or any other different abilities must go step by step to reach their goals and never giving up on your vision.
A Quote from me
I’m not the smartest man in the world, the sharpest shed in the tool box, I have no PhD and my name is not in the spotlight. I’m just and ordinary guy with Autism looking to inspire those who have the same issues as me and learn from them as well. No one ever thought I be anything and I had no one to teach me anything about life, so I learned on my own. I’m a young guy so hopefully my experiences will help and inspire you through your joinery.
Having Autism, you might feel like an outcast or at a disadvantage compared to your peers but you have the power to overcome these obstacles. When going through the obstacles remain steadfast because it shows commitment, remain humble because it shows perseverance, remain positive because it shows ambition, and most importantly be yourself. Be confident and stay strong because you have the ability to succeed in your own special way.
A person with Autism is defined as
Spectacular, and they are always
Making a difference in the lives of those they come in contact with.
by Maverick Crawford
Maverick Crawford was selected out of 1500 students as the Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Public Policy at UTSA. He graduated from UTSA as Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Public Administration and a Minor in Civic Engagement. Maverick has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and is one of our most popular bloggers as he shares his experiences with our Aspergers101 audience.