Be Different

You don’t want to be like everyone else, but you have ADHD and dislike being different. So, which is it? Do you prefer being a people pleaser? Do you want to avoid all people who don’t understand you? You don’t have to do either. Next time someone says, “I don’t understand you,” you might say, “I know you don’t, and I’m okay with that.” You may not feel okay before you say it, but you might after you say it. It only takes a little courage to practice being you. When you can do that, then you can change some things you want to change without rejecting yourself.

Here are some suggestions for practicing observing your experience without judgment (of yourself or others):

1. Dare to be different. If you don’t want to be different, you won’t be exceptional at anything.
2. Observe your rejection-sensitivity without judging it so you can stop blaming others for rejecting you.
3. If you believe in the power of acceptance, accept others who are different from you. Otherwise, you will reject difference itself, including the truth of your own difference.
4. Understand that no one else in the universe has had your life experiences, and you haven’t had theirs.
5. Speak if you want to be understood. Others will not know you if you’re unwilling to speak in your own voice.
6. You canot grow if you cannot tolerate the discomfort that comes with feedback you may need.
7. Don’t let anger separate you from others. Accept your feelings and stay connected.
8. Know that embracing differences frees you to be you and let others be different from you.
9. Accept positive differences that matter to you…your skills, interests, personality, temperament, energy, creativity, humor…whatever your strengths are.
10. Accept negative differences that should matter. For example, self-acceptance includes accepting that your ADHD affects others. You cannot prevent negative effects if you’re unaware of them.
11. If you wish to have influence with a spouse or friend, allow their influence. Allowing someone’s influence is often reciprocated, and mental flexibility is good for relatioinships.
12. Stop being defensive; it fuels more criticism. Stop criticizing; it makes people defensive.

Be careful not to give a therapist the impression that you need to be overhauled in order to have value. Your therapist might honor your desire for a makeover, and then you will not feel valued. Change doesn’t happen when you feel misunderstood or rejected, but when you feel understood and supported. Being different is not a problem.

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