In metallurgy, there is a process called “tempering”, where materials like iron and steel are heat treated to increase their strength. Ironically, (sorry, couldn’t resist) this actually reduces the metal’s hardness, but increases its ductility, which is basically its flexibility under pressure.
The end result is metal that is actually stronger despite being less hard, because it is able to absorb stress that might shatter a harder but more brittle metal.
In this blog I tend to focus on the strengths, the benefits, and the joy of life on the spectrum; that’s just me, I’m a glass half full kinda guy. But that’s not to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns. (Which are real by the way, they’re just tubby, grey, and live in Africa) Autism can be challenging to say the least, and life on the spectrum is often very stressful.
But just as metal can be strengthened by heat, this stress can help build us into resilient, resourceful, and determined individuals. Whenever I’m feeling down, I like to remind myself of all that I’ve been through and overcome. Not only have these tough times made me who I am today, but the fact that I got through them is proof that I’m a strong person.
The heat of the forge may seem to weaken us at the time, but it can also make us stronger in the long run. It’s important to remember, however, that while life is the forge, we are the metalworker. We can harden our hearts and become rigid and inflexible, but as metallurgy teaches us, harder metals can actually be more brittle. If we temper ourselves to be both ductile and strong, we can handle anything life throws at us.