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8 Things That People With ADD Want You To Know

8 Things That People With ADD Want You To Know

I had ADD before it ever became a thing. As I stared out the class window back in my school days, little did I know that as many as 11% of children in the US would one day be diagnosed with this attention deficit disorder. This was also before I really understood how my mind actually works.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t follow most conversations that I was having. It was beyond me as to why I was constantly late or unorganized despite my best intentions.

People got mad at me and I got mad at myself. People thought I was either careless or dumb, which made me believe that I was careless and dumb.

I guess you could say that school, with its structured learning and standardized tests and constant routine, wasn’t my thing. If this article was a letter to my 17-year old self I would be compelled to share some amazing life lessons that I have since experienced with ADD that has totally changed my perspective about seeing it as a limitation.

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I learned that the best way to handle a bad situation in life is to turn a negative into a positive. This is what has worked for me and now I want to share the same with you to help you understand that you are not alone. The way to handle this “disorder” is not to try to make yourself fit in, but to do the very opposite – stand out!

Yes, I have ADD. There’s no shame in admitting this. We need to embrace it. Here are some amazing benefits about this fascinating “disorder” we share together.

1. We will be one of the most compassionate people that you will ever meet.

ADD tends to make us over-do certain things – and being compassionate is no exception. If compassion means caring for the well-being of others than we have it in spades. We have this innate ability to empathize and truly feel when a friend is in need.

Although we can be socially awkward at first, when we finally make a connection you can bet that it will be a bond like no other. We know what rejection means, and we know what intolerance feels like. Our ADD helps us to embody this. In turn, your problem becomes our problem.

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2. We can be a little scatterbrained but we are highly creative.

Growing research suggests that there is a link between creativity and ADD. The idea is that while “normal” minds filter out distractions, the ADD mind is able to somehow connect random thoughts that may have otherwise not been connected, thus forming new creative ideas. People often see us as scatterbrained because we have trouble focusing on a particular topic.

We are busy looking out the window while everyone else is learning multiplication tables. One famous daydreamer was Albert Einstein who said,“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

3. We don’t always finish what we start, but when we do its because we are highly driven to succeed.

Whether its chores as a kid or work assignments as adults, we’re not good at completing tasks that are boring to us. On the flip-side, we hyper-focus on the tasks that are meaningful to us and put forth tremendous energy in tackling them head on. If there is a cause that we are passionate about you can bet that we will do whatever it takes to get the word out.

4. We have a quirky sense of humor that will never leave you in want for a smile.

I didn’t always follow the rules in school and sometimes that ended-up making me the unofficial class clown. The thing about humor is that it takes a good understanding of people and unconventional connections to come up with the funniest combinations. Although I no longer qualify as a class clown, when all else fails it’s my sense of humor that keeps me going.

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5. We see everyday as a new challenge, so problem solving comes naturally to us.

We love trying to figure out how to fit square pegs into round holes. In other words, perhaps it’s a bit of stubbornness but we have a hard time seeing many things as impossible. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the more motivated we are to come up with a solution.

6. We get resilient when the going gets tough.

We may have our special challenges with ADD, but that doesn’t mean we give up easily. Actually, we are known for being stubborn sometimes, to the point to where we keep going and persevering despite social stigmas or lack of popularity. Resilience is not about trying to same thing over and over with no outcome. Rather, it’s about coming up with new ways of thinking to approach challenges with a fresh perspective.

7. We are idea machines that constantly look for new ways of doing things.

Sometimes we can be like an idea machine. What I mean is, we consistently come up with unconventional ideas. There is no magic formula to this. Ideas are just finding patterns that emerge and connecting the dots. For example, Sir Richard Branson who is known to have symptoms of ADD, randomly came up with the idea of Virgin Airlines during a trip to Puerto Rico. He was stranded because the flight was overbooked, but he desperately needed to get to the British Virgin Islands. He was desperate for a solution. Luckily, with ADD, he had an idea machine in his brain.

The story is quite creative. He had an idea that no one else had at the time. As Richard explains: “I had a beautiful lady waiting for me in BVI and I hired a plane and borrowed a blackboard and as a joke I wrote Virgin Airlines on the top of the blackboard, $39 one way to BVI. I went out round all the passengers who had been bumped and I filled up my first plane.”

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8. We have a unique perspective that goes against the grain, yet makes us stand out in the crowd.

We tend to see things from a unique perspective, taking in lessons learned from our many frustrations, challenges, shortcomings, and inspirations. Mixed together, this forms a primordial stew of seeing things from a different angle and an original point of view. What made us get singled-out in grade school is the same thing that has shaped us into some very unique adults.

Conclusion

ADD is not a curable disorder, but it is a treatable one. When you use it to focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses you will find yourself in quite a different world – a world of creativity, innovation, and warmth like you have never known before. Come fly with us.

Featured photo credit: Image by Alexander Shustov via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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