Over time, people with ADHD have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of their individuality.
Most of us start as children without any inhibition of expressing our uniqueness. We dress up in flamboyant costumes and parade around the neighborhood. Sing at the top of our lungs to our favorite songs. Color outside the lines…on the paper, on the ground, on the walls. Make up and tell vivid imaginative stories. Run fast, jump high, and dance with abandon. We proudly express our offbeat traits and preferences with the world as children. And then we grow up.
As we age, cultural and societal norms creep in that unintentionally confine and marginalize our authentic expression. Instead of living our lives enriched by our quirky creative impulses, we begin to seek out more acceptable outlets and often take great pains to downplay those amazing eccentricities often deemed odd by others. We may not even realize that we are limiting ourselves in this way. And so over time, we learn to suppress some of the most fun, unique and lovable aspects of our ADHD selves.
So how do we rediscover and embrace these now buried or forgotten parts of ourselves?
Two simple steps:
- Ask yourself — What would I do if I knew that no one would judge my choices or actions?
- Visualize how this would look in your life. Do this without self-judgment and without the judgment from others. When you give yourself permission to imagine this, you better understand and appreciate the forgotten expressions that are an important part of who you are.
Maybe you secretly dream of replacing your current, conservative clothing with a changing array of costumes…or at least wearing clothes that reflect your personality. Perhaps you envision yourself driving a car that you have painted with murals or inspirational sayings spreading positive energy. Or you see yourself hugging the trees in a local park thanking them for their shade. What about singing joyously as you grocery shop? Taking up an exciting hobby like fire spinning or skydiving?
Do you see yourself breaking out in dance or expressing yourself with a fun hair color? Lying on the grass one afternoon watching clouds shaped like animals float by?
Whatever the nature of your musings, ask yourself what is really stopping you from including these authentic expressions into your life. Don’t be surprised if your creative ADHD imagination takes you in unexpected directions. And, when it does…embrace it! Set the intention to incorporate at least one of them into your everyday being.
Life as we know it is so short. Making the most of it is a matter of being ourselves even though we know we will inevitably encounter people who disapprove of our choices or misunderstand our self-expression.
But remember, disapproval doesn’t make it or you wrong. Far from it.
When you express yourself like no one is watching (or judging), you will discover that there are others with ADHD who appreciate you because you are willing to let go. When you do this you help others know it is okay for them to do it too.
Living with ADHD means that no one else in the world is exactly like you. You are born with your own unique way of expressing yourself. Isn’t it time to embrace this and recommit yourself to the celebration of your individuality?
Viva la difference!
What are some ways you’re going to express your amazing self?
I’d love to know.