How does someone who feels unlovable start to learn to love themselves?

That question was posed during a group call for my community this morning.
My answer, “When you’re thirsty, drink. When you’re hungry, take a bite of something. Recognize those actions as acts of self-love. They’re acknowledgments you’re worth fighting for.”
When life feels like you’re walking against the wind much of the time, it’s in the “moments” when you’re reminded that you’re here, now, having an experience of connection with YOU.
The past is what keeps you from feeling lovable. So we must look to the present for a way forward.
Your feelings, your sensations as you experience what’s happening inside and around you, right now. Living with ADHD or ASD is a tremendous balancing act of perpetual self-regulation.
You and I both know how inconsistent our productivity can be.
But the more tuned in you are to your own inner world, the better your self-care, the more confidently you can walk through this life.
It’s important for you to learn to measure your self worth against nothing. You have worth and dignity as part of your essential being. Just as water has 2Hs and an O.
You will always be worthy of love.
Until you feel it too, it’ll be difficult for you to participate.
When you ARE ready, I have a space for you.

Learn to use all of yourself…

What gives you an edge when you have ADHD/ASD or any other challenge. Doesn’t so much lie in overcoming anything.

In my experience, it’s about learning to use all of yourself.

When everyone else is born with four engines and you’ve got three. Then you crank those three babies up and learn to use your flaps in clever new ways. Maybe you spin your wheels a bit too.

People who don’t experience disruptive challenges in life rarely have to dig deep enough within themselves to discover how truly gifted and powerful they are.

I guess we’re some of the lucky ones.

We often show up big for life with our intensity, don’t we?

One reason we may seem to be too much for some people, is because of how much of ourselves we use.

Now imagine you could take that intensity and focus it on making something happen in your life.

That’s the work.

I’ll give you a hint. It involves learning to combine your capacity for hyperfocus with mindfulness. A hyper-mindfulness if you will.

You’re so fiercely present in the moment with every fiber of your being.

Imagine that.

Make sure you play all emotions

Imagine your emotions are like the strings of a guitar.
How many strings do you have to work with?
Some people may only play the strings of suffering, sadness, anger or fear.
You barely touch joy, contentment or gratitude.
The thing is, the most moving experiences make room for all of your emotions to come and go.
Strumming the strings and feeling, hearing them vibrate together into a new energy called harmony.
In a group call with my Inner Circle Members this morning, the metaphor of a guitar popped into my mind as we discussed increasing our options for what we allow ourselves to think and feel.
“Like a 12 string guitar,” I replied. They usually have 6 strings.
That launched into repeated use of the guitar metaphor to illustrate how many of our emotions we allow ourselves to play.
We realized that when we strum them all we feel more fulfilled. On a 12 string guitar the strings of suffering, fear, anger are but a few.
When played along with happiness, love, connection you experience greater balance, and gratitude for the blessings between the bumps.

Impulse issues getting your kiddo in trouble…

Kids with low dopamine (ADHD) have a hard time moderating their actions. Its very Yoda like, “Do or Do not!”

You wish they’d think before they act which suggests there’s a period of time between the thought and action to do it.

In the impulsive brain the thought of punching their brother and the action of punching feel like a single event.

By the time you realize what you thought, you’ve already done it.

We need to build in the capacity to pause here. Then you have a better chance of hesitating instead of acting impulsively.

A good place to start is with your body. Knowing what a pause feels like makes it easier to remember and stronger the more you practice it.

Start by noticing the natural pause between your out breath and in breath.

On your out breath, relax your body as much as you can.

See if you can make your exhalations longer.

Allow yourself to experience how calming this pause in between breaths feels.

Lastly, say this to yourself in your mind as you exhale, “I’m pausing for a moment before choosing what to do next.”

Enjoy this exercise 🙏

A student’s worth is more than grades…

Though students may not come out of this time academically where we’d all like them to be.
It is critical that not student, teacher or parent walk away from this feeling any less about yourselves. Of course it’s tough when so much negative feedback seems to be coming your way.
I understand the pressures to meet standards and such in the short term. How hard it is when you’re teaching remotely what was designed to be taught in person.
My focus is less academic and more on the importance of helping each of you remember your essential worth comes from more than how you measure up to a statistical average.
Take away the screens, the deadlines, the demands. Look at yourself in a mirror.
🌱 Remind yourself of the people who love you just the way you
🌱 The people you don’t have to prove anything to.
🌱 The ones who have your back.
You are good enough even when you seen to be making nothing but mud pies.
Remind your child of this!!!
Just this morning my son told me he was afraid of walking away from his laptop to go to the bathroom during class out of fear he’d miss something.
I reminded him he wasn’t being instructed in the secrets of the universe and is allowed to use the bathroom.
Loving to learn and explore is a wonderful quality to have. It keeps life from ever becoming boring. Schooling has been known to kick that out of many a student, but it doesn’t have to.
I remind my sons, the goal isn’t to know everything. What’s important is to keep asking questions. Keep being curious. Embrace not knowing, keep wondering.
Then you can say confidently, “I’m not dumb, I just don’t know. But I soon will.”
We’re on a journey of discovery together in this life. We’re learning a lot during this time, and one lesson I hope we prioritize is compassion for each other.
Students, parents and teachers are in the same mess and none of them want it this way. It’s less than perfect but its a shared experience we can get through together.
Communicate, be friendly and supportive.
No education is perfect, even during ideal circumstances.
Everyone is doing the best they can.
Do your best, learn what you can and
pick up the rest when you need it.
We’re in this together.

When its hard to relax

When you live with anxiety or pain then you have chronic muscle tension as well.

Which means…. you don’t know how to relax.

One of the hardest things for me to do is to get my muscles to relax for any length of time.

In order to do it. I relax my breathing and focus my attention on the muscles I want to relax.

Then I think to myself, “There’s no where to be, there’s nothing to do, the only time is now.”

I repeat this to help keep my mind calm and present. You may even fall asleep.

Help me to not be so frustrated…

Frustration can feel like the baseline emotion for our kiddos with ADHD/ASD.
I was talking with a mom in France about this this morning.
Their dysregulated nervous systems are stressed as they try to organize and respond to the rapid input of the world around them.
I’m 50 and I’m confused a lot of the time because of my slower processing speed.
In an ordinary social or classroom setting, others may see a puzzled look on our faces and know they need to do something different to help us keep up.
In this remote environment or in a classroom environment where everyone wears a mask, we can’t count on others to spot our frustration and rescue us from having to self-advocate.
My boys are having similar difficulties. They were used to teachers approaching them when they appeared to be stuck. At home they simply didn’t ask for help and got dangerously behind on their work.
Frustration is the emotion you feel in response to things not working. For folks with ADHD/ASD, that’s how life can feel much of the time.
Our kids need to know that frustration IS NOT the way it has to be. Life doesn’t have to be an adversary. Instead, life can be a mission to fill in the gaps.
Where there is frustration there is a gap. There’s knowledge or a skill that’s needed so what isn’t working works better. The objective is to find it.
Our kiddos will make countless excuses and even lie to avoid tasks that leave them feeling more frustrated than they already do.
Throw some curiosity and a sense of adventure in there and perhaps s/he will be more willing to conquer that gremlin once and for all.
Remind them the reason it isn’t working is because there’s a gap. It isn’t because they’re dumb, the task is stupid or anything else. The gap is the issue.
It isn’t personal, there’s no one to blame and there isn’t an adversary (per se).
There’s simply a problem to be solved.

Your emotions don’t have to control you

Several times today my patience was REALLY tested.

They changed the doctor I was supposed to see last minute.

The visit took two hours.

Ordered a lot of blood work. Had to wait an hour as the lab looked for a special vial for one of the tests.

It was now 4pm and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

I could’ve been snotty and entitled. But to what end. I’d make a scene, draw attention and feel special. Others would have a story to tell and my ego would feel a tad more validated.

I did not of that.

Instead I noticed my feelings of frustration.
The tension in my body from the frustration.

My thoughts of how long I’d been sitting in my wheelchair, how long since I’d eaten. None of which these folks having me wait were responsible for.

I reminded myself that although I was uncomfortable, I wasn’t in danger. As soon as my blood was drawn I’d be going home.

I focused on breathing mindfully until it was my turn.

I’m now on the train returning home.

Everyone I dealt with today was kind and patient.

I wanted to make sure I kept my thoughts and breathing the same way so I could return the favor.

Your emotions don’t have to control you.

It’s Thyme to love yourself more

That’s not a typo in the title by the way.
Hang on to your aprons cause things are about to get spicy.

I love pasta, especially a good pasta sauce. When you’re cooking dinner for your family, one way you know it’s done is to taste it.

Directly experience it for yourself to see if it’s good enough for the people you love. Right?

Now think about how you treat yourself. What do you say to yourself about yourself? If you’re your number one fan that’s fantastic.

But if the voice between your ears feeds you stuff you wouldn’t feed the people you love. Well we need to pitch it in the trash and start from scratch.

For decades life has been my kitchen. Lemme tell ya. I’ve been poached, burned, dropped, rolled and chopped. Quite recently I was pretty baked.

The point being. If it doesn’t taste good enough for your family, you’re probably not gonna feed it to em.

Some of the stuff you say to yourself, you wouldn’t say to them because you love them. But wait.

I invite you to think about love as something you can feel, taste, smell, touch. Just like tasting the best pasta sauce when it’s ready.

You’re kidding yourself if you think the poison in your mind doesn’t find it’s way into the heart of those you love.

But like any committed Chef you’re always about upping your game and insist upon even better ingredients.

Ones that promote focus, growth, healing. You know they’re the best because you enjoy them yourself, you know firsthand.

You know what it feels like to be treated in a loving way. It makes treating others in a loving way come more naturally.

I’m honored work with Moms who are learning to love themselves after spending years putting themselves last.

Inside your own mind must become the safest place to be. Whenever possible.

It’s a matter of training yourself to be more self-compassionate and accepting of yourself as an imperfect human. Even finding joy in it.

Learning to let go of perfectionism and embracing curiosity.

A loving approach toward yourself acknowledges you are both good enough as you are, and you’re growing.

Hanging in there can be revolutionary

There’s a lot of strength in simply hanging in there when the odds seem against you…

As a senior in high school I served as the student athletic trainer for our sports teams.

On one particular day, a more slender wrestler named Roy (not his real name), was paired against a more accomplished wrestler, Tom and was nervous about his chances. I encouraged Roy to do his best.

Tom, was fast, strong and twisted Roy in a variety of ways in an effort to pin him. All the while Roy fought to keep one shoulder up until the end so he couldn’t be pinned.

In the end Tom was victorious and they were both out of breath from giving their all.

As Roy left the mat I congratulated him on a great match.

“But I lost,” he said.

“You also didn’t quit,” I replied. “Every second you were out there you made him work for it. Even if you didn’t think you were going to win, you sure weren’t going to lose without a fight.”

A half smile creeped up on his face as he said, “I guess so. Thanks.”

When things are hard you can mistakenly focus on the fact it’s been hard. That’s only part of the story. You also got through it.

You got through it because you persevered, you believe things can be better, that you’re worth fighting for, that if you made it through today you can make it through tomorrow too.

When you’re a mother struggling with the overwhelm of a special needs child, the fruits of your labor can be a study in delayed gratification.

Sometimes your child learns a lesson the 1000th time and unfortunately, sometimes never. But you don’t quit.

You work so hard, just to get through each day sometimes. That is a win worthy of recognition.

This is one part survival, one part revolutionary.

It’s revolutionary because you can conceive of a world where your child is as successful as any other when the odds are stacked against them. That’s as terrifying as it is invigorating so don’t take it on alone.

Let’s continue to hold each others hands, especially on those days it’s harder to stand back up on our own.

This is where a close community of people who “get it” can be your greatest strength. I have such a community, if you’re interested