A friend and I meet regularly at a coffee shop that is a 5 minute walk from where I live. Because it is so close, I always leave it to the last minute to get ready. Then as I am speed walking/running to get there I say to myself ‘I will leave earlier next time’. I always arrive at the coffee shop on time, but a feeling bit hot and my mind is racing.
The interesting thing about this situation is my friend thinks I am very punctual. She often comments on it. Yet, because I have done all that rushing and don’t feel punctual, in this situation, I shrug that compliment away.
This is what adults with ADHD experience all the time. They accomplish wonderful things, degrees, promotion, awards, perform acts of kindness, receive compliments from their nearest and dearest, but because behind the scenes things were a struggle, you shrug those compliments and achievements away.
This results in a huge disconnection between reality and how you see yourself. This disconnect stops you from building up a strong self esteem, from reaching your full potential, allowing yourself to be happy, and even the quality of people you have relationships with.
What can you do to close that gap between your perception of yourself and reality?
1) Being aware of it is always the first step to change. So pay attention to how you feel about yourself and what you do and have done.
2) Write a list of 25 accomplishments
Everyone I give this assignment to always gasps because it sounds a lot, but it encourages you to dig deep and really think about what you have done in your life so far.
3) Create a Hall of Frame
Gather together all your certificates, photos of important events and other items that symbolism your achievements. Get them framed and hang them together on a wall in your home. This is powerful because every time you walk past the wall your achievements, they are there, loud and proud. It might take time for your subconscious to process them, but when it does a new you emerges.
4) Accept all compliments
When someone gives you a compliment, simply say thank you. Don’t explain it away. Afterwards, spend a few minutes processing it. For example, if someone says ‘you have an incredible general knowledge’ your immediate thought might be, well it’s because I sit and watch TV when I have 101 more productive things to do. BUT, rather than do that, begin to own the fact that you are very knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects.
5) Change the way you talk to yourself
You probably have a constant negative voice chatting away to you all day. Telling you mean put downs on how you look, what you said, and what you did.
‘When you catch one of those thoughts, flip it around. ‘I sounded stupid’ to ‘I did a good job’. ‘You look silly in that outfit’ to ‘this is my favorite jacket’. The more you do it, the more your positive voice over rides the negative and the better you will feel about yourself.