During my lifetime, I have encountered frustrations when interacting socially. For many years, I had no idea what led to this dilemma. Subsequently, I internalized these difficulties because I believed there was something seriously wrong with my personality. Although, I attempted to navigate through social interactions, I continued to stub my toes socially. At these times, I would attempt to double my efforts to fit in socially. The energy I used to overcompensate depleted my ability to function effectively in other areas of my life. This conundrum undermined my emotional well being, which resulted in my experiencing depression.
For many years I berated myself for my inability to read subtleties and social cues. I internalized a sense of shame and anger toward myself because I was blamed for my inability to interact socially. My inferiority was compounded whenever I was asked — and which occurred on many occasions as an adolescent, then as a teenager and into my adult years — “Why can’t you get along with anyone.” Inevitably I believed there was something inherently wrong with me.
Toward the end of my seminary experience, I spoke with a close friend. It was at his suggestion that I found encouragement. He suggested that I keep asking questions of God, other people and myself. The answer to my questions did not become readily apparent. Nevertheless, I continued to seek clarity. I am so very glad that I did not give up in my search for answers. The answers to my questions enabled me to come out of an imposed state of denial. I discovered that my inability to interact socially was due to the injury to my brain, not because I was bad or defective.
Specifically, I discovered that the right frontal lobe contains the brains executive center. The injury to my right frontal lobe -at the time of the car accident- damaged the executive center in my right frontal lobe. The right frontal lobe plays a large role in the processing of non-verbal communication among other functions. At last, I began to understand why I had difficulty interacting in social situations. Because the gate keepers, or filters in my executive center had been damaged, I lost my ability to monitor and respond to a host of external stimuli in real time. The involuntary function of the executive center function became voluntary for me. In my attempts to monitor and respond to the demands of multiple conversations, as well as other external stimuli, I am invariably taxed.
With this information I began to practice acceptance. Self-acceptance gave me the permission to ask more questions. The answers to these questions have helped me to make adjustments socially. Because I no longer need to live in the shadows of denial, I am free of the need to defend, answer or explain why I am limited in specific areas. Through accepting my reality, I am able to distinguish between my limitations and what I can improve upon in my personality, as I pursue excellence.
Although I have people in my life today, who for whatever reason chose to deny that I have legitimate deficits and limitations, I am not limited by their denial. I now know the truth, and the truth is setting me free. The question now is, “How can I use my limitations to empower my world?”
Table Topics for the Soul – Journey to the Heart. LC Registration #: TXu1-330-434 Copyright © 2007