It takes more strength and focus than you can imagine to remain optimistic when you feel like crap every single day for years.
That’s my reality and as I started today it was getting to me a bit. It happens from time to time, it ebbs and flows, it’s also temporary so I know it won’t last which makes it easier to sit with.
I spoke with my good friend Victoria Hellethis morning. She’s brilliant and an exceptional human that I recommend you check out.
I share this to remind you that I’m not always positive. I experience all of life and want to know all of myself, even the hard stuff.
Because the lessons hidden beneath the deep work are so profound it’s worth every tear shed along the way.
What talking with Victoria helped me remember is how I too can fall into the comparison trap as I see others living “busy” lives and being active in a way I wish I could be.
Here was the epiphany. Just because they looked happy being busy in all those photos doesn’t mean I’d be happy living that way. I find greater fulfillment in having deeper experiences. Deep conversations, feeling deeply connected to people. These experiences don’t typically happen in the context of more, more, busy, busy.
I realized that my speed and bandwidth is quite different than what the “status quo” encourages and I lost sight of that.
It’s a real blessing to have good friends to offer a little perspective and a friendly ear right when you need it.
Spend time alone with your thoughts without distraction.
For people living with ADHD or ASD this is particularly difficult.
What you’ll discover first is a lot of noise running through your head. If your thoughts are anxious or self critical please know you’re dealing with the real time, fear based, feedback of the primitive mind whose primary objective is to keep you alive.
That’s why it’s primarily negative, to keep you alert for possible danger. It isn’t interested in telling you the truth, it’s concerned about what if’s and avoiding them.
When you work from that part of your brain your thinking like a lizard not a leader.
It’s important to balance courage and caution.
Ever watch documentaries about the ocean? The surface is where things are tumultuous, but go deeper and the waters are more still.
The mind works in a similar way. Which is why you need to go below the surface to get to know yourself.
Most people won’t do this. They look at the surface noise and believe they have all the info they need. That’s like slurping up the foam but skipping the beer.
You need to go deeper to find you.
What you find beneath the noise and the things you’ve been conditioned to care about or fear, are things that truly light up your soul.
The things that make you happy whether or not anyone else approves.
The things that give you a sense of purpose and direction in life.
I wouldn’t dare try and tell you in a post what to do to go deeper because this process is a vulnerable one and it helps to do it with guidance. Just knowing someone is there to reach out to to process with when things come up in solitude is HUGE!
Just know you are not alone in your desire to hide from thoughts that take the wind from your sails. But also know the ocean of your mind is much deeper and there are those of us who can help you navigate it more safely so you can experience who you are with much more love, happiness and peace.
One of my parenting hacks is a way to help establish buy in from your children when it comes to accepting consequences.
The basic thinking is this. When you explain specifically that a certain behavior results in a predictable consequence, then it is solely within your child’s power to prevent it. Basic cause and effect, right.
There’s more. It’s also an agreement between you and your child. An agreement that if they “choose” to practice a certain behavior, you “promise” to deliver a specific consequence. Your child acknowledges their understanding of this “agreement”.
The promise you make to them is to follow through and deliver the consequence should they choose the behavior with full knowledge of the consequence.
The reason you follow through isn’t because you’re a mean parent, it’s because you value trust in your relationship with your child and trust comes from keeping your promises, honoring your agreements.
You promised a consequence and you don’t want them to see you as a liar so you’re keeping your promise. Tell them this with sincerity if they object to the consequence.
When you’re consistent with this approach you’ll likely see your child soften when you deliver consequences. They become more reflective knowing your intentions are about connecting with them not taking from them.
With my own boys, the time came when I wouldn’t have to say much.
I’d acknowledge they’re behavior and remind them of our agreement. They’d hand me the electronic device, etc knowing what the agreement was and why it was important to keep it.
Trust. No fuss, just integrity.
Parenting is bumpy, and it’s more important for your child to know they can trust you than it is for them to be happy with you.
Do you feel helpless when your child with ADHD or ASD repeatedly, talks negatively about himself?
You tell him it isn’t true, compliment him but it doesn’t seem to help, right?
As it turns out, I know exactly what to do. I had this very conversation during the weekly group coaching call with my clients this past weekend.
The first thing to understand is that your child doesn’t realize he decided it was his fault. He simply thinks he’s stating a fact when speaking negatively.
So it must be brought into his awareness. When he says something like, “I’m so stupid!” you can respond by asking, “When did you decide that was true?”
This question requires him to reflect (something our kids struggle with). Discovering he actually has a choice may be an epiphany.
Of course there may be rebuttal statements, excuses or questions he fires back to try and defend his position but I have responses for those too.
The key to helping him become more aware, disciplined and positive in his self-talk requires a few things:
1. Improve your own – modeling is the best teacher
2. Ask better questions – that require reflection not interrogation
3. Use the words “choice” and “decision” mindfully when speaking to plant the seed in your child’s mind.
Ex. A person said something rude to me today and I felt myself start to become upset. Then I decided it wasn’t about me and chose not to let it ruin my day.
Helping our children learn to love themselves can happen through our everyday interactions with them. That’s what I teach parents how to do. If you want to learn what all my other clients are learning and benefitting from, send me a message.
You can never say the wrong thing while listening.
That’s a valuable lesson I learned after years of putting my foot in my mouth. In fact, I’ve become well known for my listening skills.
Listening can be challenging when you live with ADHD or ASD because your thinking may be very busy, anxious or highly distractible.
But when you learn to calm, be present and focus on the other person, it becomes easier.
What do you believe are the qualities of an effective listener?
Pause for a minute and answer this question for yourself.
Over time, we pick up beliefs about what it means to listen and be listened to.
We run into trouble when trying to communicate with people that have different beliefs about listening than we do.
Have you answered the question for yourself? Great, please continue . . .
According to linguist Roland Barthes, “Hearing is a physiological phenomenon; listening is a psychological act.”
Listening is about interpreting what you hear then making meaning of it based on your rules and experiences.
In fact listening doesn’t even require hearing. Ever met a deaf person, ever read an email? Listening is about shared meaning and understanding.
You likely feel most understood when the person you’re talking to understands your meaning and NOT just your words. Yes?
Well as I work to become an even better listener, here are a list of habits I’ve found particularly useful.
The 11 Habits of Highly Effective Listening
1. Decide how you feel about the person beforehand – If you decide a person will be fascinating, you’re more inclined to pay closer attention.
2. Non-reactivity – Can you keep emotions of upset at bay until you’ve determined whether the person talking meant to upset you? Our emotions interrupt our listening more than we realize.
3. Body listening (e.g. eye contact, posture)
Are you tuned in to how a person uses his/her body to add emphasis to what’s being said?
4. CARE – Care about the person’s need and right to be heard. Whether or not you care about the topic.
5. Be Teachable – Be curious instead of a know it all. Believe that everyone has something to teach you.
6. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify – Make sure you check in with the speaker to be sure you’re understanding the message that is intended.
NOTE: My coaching clients receive step by step instructions on how to do this flawlessly.
7. Focus – Eliminate as many distractions as you can. Remember, you’re fascinated by the person in front of you and want to hear every word s/he says.
8. Pause – Don’t fill your head with the response you want to give, if it’s at the expense of listening. Instead, pause before responding to give yourself a moment to recall, reflect then respond to what you heard.
9. Get Permission – Can I ask you a question? Do you mind if I tangent for a moment then come back to this?
Permission is a sign of respect for the person who’s speaking.
10. Apologize – We all get distracted sometimes, in spite of our best efforts. It usually results in missing something the speaker says.
Remember, the priority is the speaker’s need and right to heard. So when we become distracted, a simple apology can set things right.
e.g. “I’m sorry, my mind was someplace else. What was it you were trying to say?” or “Would you mind repeating the last thing you said, I want to make sure I heard it correctly?”
11. Make statements or make requests
“WOW! What was that like?”
“How did you get started with that?”
“Tell me more about that.”
Statements such as these demonstrate your interest in what the speaker is sharing with you.