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Being Present With Another Person When Your ADHD Would Like To Wander

Being Present With Another Person When Your ADHD Would Like To Wander

Being present with another human being has got to be the most beautiful experience anyone can have. As someone who has spent a life seeking strategies to manage ADHD and pervasive distractibility, this ability has been hard won.

I discovered a powerful and unique strategy for quickly connecting with another human being, one I’m privileged to share with you.

The basic idea of being present doesn’t lend itself to the kind of emotional energy a brain like mine needs in order to stay alert and focused.

Simply being aware of everything in the moment as it arises is wonderful. However, the ADHD mind needs additional stimulation in order to maintain this awareness. Or it can drift off so deeply into itself that the original intention of being present is lost.

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What can one do under these circumstances?

You can begin with the end in mind. When spending time with someone, I suggest making two decisions beforehand.

  1. Decide which of your values you want to show up with during your time together (e.g. love, respect, understanding).
  2. Decide on a strategy for how the person you are with will experience that value as a result of your time together. Say you choose to practice the value of understanding another. I have yet to meet another person who doesn’t want to be understood. Therefore, this is a value that you can use as your go-to value especially when meeting someone for the first time.

Conceptualizing the strategy for understanding another person begins by asking yourself this question: What do I need to believe, say, and do in order to honor this person’s right to be understood by me?

One belief is embedded in the question. The belief that the other person has a right to be understood. You can even reframe that belief to say, “The person in front of me has a right to feel understood.”

It’s important to understand that this strategy is not transactional, as in, I’m not going to do it unless you do it. This is you stepping up in a highly proactive way. Doing your part to create a beautiful moment between you and the person you’re with.

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Whichever belief you choose, these are the next questions to ask

  1. Based on my belief, what would I say in order to help the other person feel understood by me?
  2. Based on my belief, what must I do in order to help the other person feel understood by me?

There is likely a fly in the ointment here and it’s the fact that you are not a mind-reader and could be off-base in your sense of what the other person wants to see and hear in order to feel understood.

Hence, there is a need for promises to check in with the other person by saying, “May I check in with you for a moment? I want to make sure I understand you correctly.”

You then proceed to share what you’ve heard so far, with emphasis on the meaning you infer from what you are being told. You then give the other person an opportunity to confirm or correct your understanding before moving on.

For the mind that already practices a similar strategy, this can seem like common sense. For the mind that is wired for wandering, this can feel at first like a momentous effort, which is why such a concrete instruction is both helpful and necessary.

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How effective listening leads to true mindfulness

There are, of course, mindfulness purists who will likely reject my suggestions, advocating for a mind free of any agenda and simply staying open for whatever arises in that moment.

I don’t believe for one second that even the most mindful person who takes the time to be present for another isn’t at least coming from the belief that giving another person that time and attention is important. So you see, there’s always some sort of desire to be satisfied and that’s okay. As long as the needs of both people are met to the highest extent possible.

Take some time to contemplate this. See if it enhances the degree of focus, intention, and self-determination that you bring to each moment you have the privilege of spending with another human being.

You’ll be grateful you did.

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Oh, one last thing. You can close the time you spent together by saying, “Thank you for helping me to understand you better. You deserve it.”

Thanks for being you.

Featured photo credit: Greatist via greatist.com

More by this author

Brian R. King

Relationship Success Coach for the ADHD Community and Beyond

Being Present With Another Person When Your ADHD Would Like To Wander

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life.

Take a look at these 13 things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become mentally stronger.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

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3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

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7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it.

However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

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10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive.

They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

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13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

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Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

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