Friday, January 22, 2010

Boldly Moving Forward (in a Terrified Manner)

People can often be their own worst enemies. I think that with many, if not most, ADHD folks this is very true. For decades, a little voice inside my head has been telling me I will not succeed, and it has been doing everything in its power to make sure that is true. Up till now it has been pretty good at its job and I have often felt underachieved and unsuccessful even when that couldn't be farther from the truth.

I've had folks in my life that have made great allies for the little voice, but I'm not allowing that anymore. You see, I've begun to make some terrifying discoveries of late. I've been shocked and horrified to discover that I am often VERY successful, at any number of things. It boggles the mind to even consider it but I'm a pretty capable and talented guy.

That might sound a bit vain and conceited, but not so. I am quite aware that for each of the things that I am great at there are other things that I am completely TERRIBLE at. I've always been comfortable accepting the terrible bits. It was the pride of success that often eluded me and made me downright sick to my stomach.

In my case, the things I have been successful at have often come back to haunt me. My beloved T-Rose learned in her ADHD coaching class that when folks with ADHD do something well, it often gets held against them for the rest of their lives.

Huh? Yep, you read correctly.

For me, I can often do things that are REALLY difficult for most folks with relative ease. Figure out how to fix things around the house? No prob. Figure out how to solve a computer problem? Yawn. Take one look at something and then reverse engineer a version of my own? Well, duh!

To many regular folks these things often seem amazing, and they try to praise me and give thanks. But the little voice in my head says,

"They can't be serious. That was pathetic. What sort of praise do you deserve for such a simple task?"

It was a compelling argument for most of my life. Why did I deserve praise? It was easy to do and didn't challenge me in the least. The praise seemed hollow and didn't do much to help me feel successful.

Then there is the other side of things. There are MANY things that most folks do with ease that I am absolutely awful at. Call to make a Dentist appointment? Shiver. Remember that it is Sunday night and the trash needs to go out? Oh, yeah, right. Travel from one end of the house to the other and remember what you were going to do? Ummmm....

Mess up "simple" things like this and folks don't praise you. Far from it. They criticize you and harp on you and make you feel pretty awful. How can you be capable of so many difficult things and forget to put the trash out? What's wrong with you?

Three guesses how that would make me feel...

The problem was, those things are NOT easy. They are VERY VERY hard for me. And the way that folks would treat me when I screwed them up would do a good job at negating any praise I received for the hard (although not that hard to me) stuff. It gave the little voice inside me plenty of material to work with. It made sure that no matter how successful I was, I never felt content with it.

A lifetime of that can get old. A lifetime of that can get frustrating, and defeating, and make you furious in ways that you try to keep down but pop up at the worst possible moment. You can endure a whole lifetime of it while that nasty little voice in your head pilots that flaming train wreck all the way down to your grave.

Screw that noise.

I have simply decided that enough is enough. So with the help of someone very close to me (closer in fact than anyone else has ever been) I am moving forward.  I am going to a place where I am not only successful, but I can embrace that success and, dare I say it, be happy and prideful and content with it.

Not as easy as it sounds.

It is, in fact, rather scary and uncomfortable and, to be blunt, often sucks. But why should I care? Isn't success and contentment something we all seek? Something we all deserve? Up until now I have believed that we all deserved it, even me (well, sorta), and I still believe that. It's just that now I actually mean it about myself as well as everyone else.

Where will it take me? Who knows. That's kinda the scary part. But anyplace would be better that where I was.

I'm excited.

I'm terrified too.

Sound the bugle. Wish me luck. I'm going in...


Blogger MJADesigns said...

Posted on behalf of Barbara Luther, Master Certified Coach; International Coach Federation:

Thank you for such a moving and authentic description of your life and what it's like for so many persons with ADHD!
I honor that accepting and enjoying your strengths and gifts can be so scary after focusing your entire life on weaknesses, and it's worth feeling scared to begin to enjoy your accomplishments and strengths. You DO deserve to enjoy your unique gifts!
If we can support one person at a time to use their gifts and energy for themselves and their dreams, we can change the world. It's clear your world is changing for the better. Go! Go!


Barbara Luther

February 8, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

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