Brené Brown, researcher and author, has said, “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
Owning your stories, even ones that include your ADHD, is one of the key elements to living a more connected and fulfilled life. By ‘owning’, I mean speaking up about the pieces of yourself that make you unique, without any expectation.
Owning your ADHD story isn’t easy but it’s key to not only your personal growth but in being able to enjoy meaningful connections with others. Owning your ADHD story takes courage, vulnerability, and a whole lot of here-goes-nothing leaps of faith, but when you get there, it is transformational.
So what does it mean to “own your ADHD story?”
In a nutshell, it means to be honest with yourself about your life: the good, the bad, the ugly….and the ADHD.
- Know your ADHD. One of the fastest ways to own your life is to know your ADHD, your specific challenges and strengths. Knowing how your ADHD uniquely impacts you and knowing your unique strengths, interests, and talents means you can leverage these in your favor. If you are not sure, ask someone you trust who will not judge you to describe their experience with your ADHD and what unique qualities you have that you may not be aware of.
- Get self-aware. Having ADHD can mean we have not had the luxury to spend time getting to know ourselves. However, by being aware of your perspectives, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and wants for your life you can choose to keep or change them. Awareness helps us gain control over our actions and reactions and puts you in the driver’s seat so you can create your life and your ADHD story from here on out.
- Stop blaming and start growing. It’s so very easy to blame, especially since most of us with ADHD have had some sort of experience with being treated wrongly and unfairly. Whether this happened to you while growing up or as an adult, someone else’s bad behavior cannot be an excuse for you not living the life you want. Blaming gives others or something else power over you, which is really the opposite of owning our life.
And stop blaming yourself for the past mistakes or actions you regret. You can’t change that you did them and holding onto them only holds you back, keeps you living in the past and drains precious energy and focus. Instead, learn and grow from these experiences and wipe the slate clean every day. Tomorrow is a new day. No one, not even yourself, can stop you from being the person you are meant to be or living the life you desire to live.
- Make a decision. Someone once said that indecisiveness is a form of self-punishment. Do you know what you really want for your life? Not what your parents, boss, spouse or children want for you, or what you think you “should” want. Do you know what you want? How do you want to live this one and precious life?
To help you remember, think back to when you were a child. What did your heart most long to do? What made you happy? What filled you with joy? If the answers feel too big and even scary, you’re close to your answer. Owning our life means we decide, and when we decide what we really want and believe it’s possible, we set in motion the people and circumstances to help us achieve our dream.
- Become purposeful. Owning your life means you are purposeful with your life. You set goals for yourself and start creating daily habits that will support you in living the life you want. Having ADHD can mean that you are not very good at planning too far into the future, which is fortunate because being purposeful is about being present in this moment, this day, focusing on what we can change today. For instance, take the time to prepare for your day, before you are bombarded by the outside world. Mentally prepare yourself and decide what and how you want the day to be. Knowing what you want from your life includes making a plan with specific, measurable goals that mark your milestones of success. It’s amazing what we can forget with our ADHD brains when we don’t remind ourselves! One of the most satisfying things is to look back over the month and see all of the things you checked off your list without you even realizing it.
- Be Authentically You. Spending your life trying to be someone or behaving somehow you are not, is exhausting, will never be fulfilling and not how you want to continue living. Having ADHD means we have spent a lot of our lives trying to fit in. And even if this weren’t already incredibly difficult, it rarely worked the way we had hoped. Owning your ADHD life is about knowing yourself. What you value, what’s important and meaningful to you. You can start by noticing when you are not really being yourself and set the intention to self-correct. Also, trust your intuition. People with ADHD typically have great intuition; you might have just forgotten how to use it as to guide your life.
Owning our ADHD lives can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you just start small and stay aware consistently, you will begin experience the peace that comes with these changes.
There is no better time to start than now. Own your ADHD life…you can do this!
Laurie, Love this approach to Owning your ADHD. I worked with the NW nonprofit ADD Resources for 15 years. We may have met at one of the many conferences I helped prepare for. To keep me busy in retirement, I started my own sites on Pinterest, Facebook and at http://addfreesources.net after they moved to Seattle. I’m good at collecting and curating information and writing about finding resources but have depended on the kindness of others for my website articles. I just did a newsletter on Owning your ADHD, but your writing is more to the point and shorter. My work is a private not for profit project. Please consider sharing your work. Thank you, for your attention.