A funny thing happened a few years ago when I went to the eye doctor. Well, I'll admit it doesn't feel very funny. It seems that in the process of aging, I now need bifocals, since I'm no longer nearsighted nor farsighted! The fact that I find it difficult to read books or my computer screen while wearing glasses proves the doctor's point.
It has struck me that there's a hidden truth here related to social insight. Many of us have "social myopia." We can readily see what we do well, but tend to be blinded to the gifts and abilities of others. Or perhaps on the flip side, we think we're the only ones who feel overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, lonely, financially pinched, etc., while overlooking the fact that many others feel the same way.
As we examine the process of social insight, we can sometimes recognize a need for "social reading glasses." These would help with our tendency to see things "my way" (or according to MY CONTEXT)--in a somewhat distorted version of reality where neither our own abilities/challenges nor those of others are seen with great clarity or accuracy.
Obtaining "social corrective lenses" may not be as simple as driving to the nearest optical shop, yet it need not be overly difficult. Here are a few steps to steer us in the right direction:
1. Recognize the problem. Identify in yourself one or two areas which could use improvement (if we're honest, there are usually at least that many)!
2. Distance yourself. When I was 13, my mom's complaint that her "arms were too short" seemed both strange and funny. Sorry, Mom--I'm not laughing anymore! Without reading glasses or bifocals, I find that I also have to hold small print farther away in order to be able to read it. Sometimes we need to take a real or imaginary step back from a social situation in order to see it, understand it, and respond to it more effectively.
3. Keep learning. Ask questions of the people with whom you live and work--without assuming you already know the answers. Attempt to get to know them and to see things from their perspective. Utilize resources such as "The Hidden Curriculum" (Brenda Smith Myles) to better understand the social information that those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may be missing, and how you can help.
A glance at a dictionary confirms that "myopia" is "nearsightedness; a condition of the eye when objects are seen distinctly only when near the eye." However, a second definition is this: "lack of foresight or discernment." Now there's a social point to ponder!
Best wishes for improved social foresight and discernment, which will likely benefit both you and those with whom you live and work!