Facing mistakes with self-compassion
The first step is to begin cultivating compassion for yourself. The nature of ADHD means that it is common to have low self esteem or negative self talk. As we make mistakes, embarrass ourselves and act impulsively, we may have been criticised or feel ashamed of our failings. Before diagnosis these issues may be seen as character flaws. Even with a diagnosis, it can be challenging to understand and support an ADHDer. So, you have probably had enough knocks to your self-esteem. Be kind to yourself, admit mistakes without beating yourself up. All we can do is look for strategies to improve the situation in the future.
Having compassion for ourselves is necessary in order to find the courage to work through intense emotions and reflect on our behaviour in a realistic and productive way. It’s ok to make mistakes! And it’s ok to admit to making mistakes. What can become destructive and damaging to our mental health and relationships is when we believe that we shouldn’t make mistakes, that everyone else is doing better than us, and we are inadequate. This leads to denial of our issues due to the depth of pain we feel. In turn this leads to low self-esteem, shame and anger, which may be turned inwards as depression, addiction or self-harm, or outwards as hostility, aggression or violence. This perpetuates a cycle of negative relationships and beliefs that become self-fulfilling. The way to break out of this cycle is to first say, “Yes it’s ok to make mistakes! I have made mistakes, but I am still a good and worthy person. I don’t have to be perfect, all I can do is try my best to learn and grow”. Growing up doesn’t stop after childhood, there are always opportunities to grow in wisdom. Begin with compassion.
© Janey Colbourne 2015