Last night, Kansas State beat the University of Kansas in basketball, and I'm still flying high over my alma mater's victory over our intrastate rival.
A sports reporter I follow on Twitter observed that although Kansas State fans are very insecure about the rivalry, Kansas fans lose their mind when we beat them.
Well of course they do, I thought. They expect to win, whereas we are the perennial underdogs and expect the loss.
If you attended a state college, you know exactly what I mean. Most states have a flagship university - in our case, the University of Kansas - and a more affordable and accessible state school system, which I attended. The flagship school, whether it's officially a flagship or just implied, is considered the more prestigious campus.
In most states, it plays out the same way: the rich kids go to the flagship school, while the poor kids attend the state school. When I attended K-State, there was a rumor that more than 90% of us received some sort of financial aid. I don't know if that's true, but in my anecdotal experience among my friends, it sure was.
Now, that's not to say I received an inferior education. In my opinion, it was the opposite. As an entry level employee, whenever I worked alongside peers with fancy degrees, my applicable knowledge, executive function and work ethic were far superior. That continues to this day.
Even though I'm a high achiever, I've also carried the burden of a chip on my shoulder. That feeling of being second best. Celebrating my wins, but too easily accepting my losses.
To be candidly honest, I expect them.
It's not just "staters" that believe they deserve second best. The truth is, most people feel this way. Those who believe they are destined for greatness are the outliers.
When you're a special needs parent, a subconscious belief that life is just one disappointment after another can really hold you back not just from living your own fulfilling life, but helping your child achieve their potential. Sure, you preach Dr. Temple Grandin's famous line that life with autism is different, not less. But deep inside, you believe that autism is just more proof that second best is your destiny.
Or as my negative inner voice likes to say, "well yeah, of course your kid has autism - nothing good ever works out for you anyway."
I'm a big believer in quantum physics (any other Bruce Lipton fangirls out there?) and manifestation. If my subconscious believes I deserve second best, that's exactly what I'll get.
A few years ago, I decided I was fed up with the bullshit limits I've put on myself and took a deep dive into why I have spent a lifetime sabotaging my success. I've read books, taken online courses, completed guided meditation series, shook myself to the core in an intensive leadership weekend workshop, joined online groups, and, armed with a library of knowledge and training, completely rebuilt my mind and my life.
I'm still a work in progress (as evidenced by my "well, duh" response to the winner/loser tweet) but these days when I dream of my best life, it's more than just a dream. It's actually achievable. And when my inner critic spews doubt and limiting dialogue, I change the channel.
If this post resonates with you, please check out my new autism parenting group, The Cabana. Information about it is linked below.
Each month I share an online mini-course, and the first course is all about silencing your inner critic. I'll share with you the exact methods I used to get rid of my negative thoughts, and how I've reprogrammed my subconscious to believe that I'm worthy of winning.
Even if you're not into self-care, consider this: when you improve your emotional health and regain your lust for life, you become a better parent. Our autistic kiddos are little lightning rods when it comes to emotions. They soak you up like a sponge. If you're unhappy, they're unhappy. But if you're fulfilled and optimistic about the future, they will be too.
Everyone wins! I hope to see you in the group soon!
Heather Anderson is a blissfully happy autism mom and lover of life in Southern California who is on a mission to help autism parents rediscover their happy place.
Please join me on this beautiful autism journey. The Autism Oasis is a fun, supportive and educational community where your personal development is just as important as your children's. You are more than just a caregiver!