Knowing your dyslexic strengths and using them to your advantage
How do you find and accept your dyslexic strengths? Do you already know what they are? During our May Dyslexia Discussed session, we chatted about 4 key ways to find your strengths and accept them. While none of this is an instant fix, we hope it will help you open your eyes to how incredible being dyslexic can be.
1. Do you understand your dyslexic strengths?
If you struggle to find your dyslexic strengths, try listing your weaknesses. After you have a little list of struggles, look for the complete opposite. We know kind of confusing; here are a few examples:
I am terrible at spelling, but I have a great vocabulary.
I am slow at work, but I am detail-oriented.
Next time you start beating yourself up about a weakness, start looking for the hidden strength. We promise it's there.
2. It is unrealistic to think the challenges will go away.
You are dyslexic and will be forever! Nothing will change that. While we will talk about radical acceptance in number 3, this is similar. When you stop trying to fix your dyslexic challenges and start to accept them, you will see the good and the bad. Again confusing, we know here are a couple of examples:
Sand is super annoying when it gets in your house or swimming shorts. But going to the beach is AWESOME. We accept the announcement of the sand because we get to go to the beach.
A more dyslexic example:
I struggle with word recall, but that does not stop me from talking (especially about dyslexia).
3. Radical Acceptance
This one is similar to wishing away the challenges of being dyslexic. Sometimes the best way to manage your dyslexia is to accept it radically. Accepting your challenges will decrease your stress, change your perspective, and even help your physical health. Some big and little examples:
Driving is a pretty standard societal expectation, but my dyslexia makes it hard for me. So rather than spending time trying to learn, I asked myself, do I need to drive? The answer was no; I live in London and have no kids. So I radically accepted that I would not be learning to drive and didn't care what others' opinions about that were.
I am very unorganized. I tried for years every organization hack or took kit. None of them worked for me. Instead of beating myself up about how disorganized dyslexia makes me, I just accepted that I am perpetually unorganized.
4. I thought everyone was like that.
You are not the same as everyone else. They say common sense is not that common, and we are willing to guess that you can relate to that idea. Dyslexic brains work differently, which means that our strengths are not the same as everyone else.
I was in a meeting and spoke up about a potential problem and the fix for the issue. My boss looked at me and said, "I never thought about it like that."
Bonus Tip: Seeing things in pictures rather than as data
Stop trying to remember things like phone numbers, room numbers, or even street names. Try looking at things as a picture or images. Change your thinking towards the visual rather than using your working memory. An example:
I stopped trying (and failing) to remember my room number at the hostels I am staying in. I now use visual cues to get me to where I am going. Things like turning towards the house plant and then going three doors, and that's my room.