As you may have noticed, instead of using the symbols < and 3 in the title to make a heart, I used the symbols < and 8. No. It’s not a typo. It’s symbolism. It was done on purpose to make a point. The point that an Aspies love, though it may not be conventional, obvious, or easy, is just as real as conventional love.
According to professionals, a common trait among those with Asperger Syndrome is a “lack of empathy and emotion.” As you may have noticed, the words lack of empathy and emotion are in quotation marks. I did this because I don’t believe that the word “lack” is fitting. It implies that Aspies are completely incapable of these two things, but that is wholly incorrect. I believe that it would be more appropriate to say that some Aspies find it difficult or don’t know how to properly show empathy and emotion.
Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another. Sometimes Aspies don’t notice how people are feeling. Some Aspies find it hard to read people’s emotions. Some Aspies just don’t know how to express how they’re feeling. Some Aspies feel a great amount of empathy, but aren’t able to appropriately express it. Some Aspies feel or don’t feel empathy depending on the person or thing. Everyone is capable of feeling empathy, even those with AS.
Emotion: a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. When people read about AS, it gives the impression that Aspies, because they show little to no emotion, feel less intense emotions than “normal” people. Aspies actually feel very strong emotions. The issue with emotions is not in feeling them, but describing them and understanding why they are felt. Everyone is capable of feeling emotion, even those with AS.
I feel emotions in extremes. I know, even if it takes a little while to figure it out, what emotion I’m feeling. I know, even if it takes a little deliberation, how to put my emotions into words. I feel empathy and show empathy in the best way I know possible. I do still find that I don’t know what to do in some situations, but it comes easier now than it did when I was younger. My social skills, though they may not be perfect, have much improved. In the case of my social skills, practice has made more perfect. This is possible for all Aspies. If I can do it, so can you.