On Being and Becoming
Imagine going to a professional who doesn’t get all the subtleties of ADHD, and he begins by assigning tasks that he believes will improve your daily functioning. You think his ideas are good ones, but you either forget them, or you don’t prioritize the tasks and don’t get them done. You are embarrassed and feel as if you are letting the therapist down. It doesn’t take much to trigger our shame. That is why I don’t begin there.
If you fail at implementing a therapist’s practical suggestions, you may appear—either to yourself or your therapist—as if you are unmotivated. But there you are, seeking help to improve the quality of your life, which suggests that you are motivated.
It is easy for you to buy the notion that you are not good enough as you are, that you should be better than you are. It is my contention that you are unlikely to actualize your vision if you feel you are not yet capable, that you first have to have a much improved brain, and you should first become like the other 95%. When we get too focused on becoming, we lose awareness of being. Being exceptional is being different, and if you want to do something exceptional, dare to be different.
When I thought I needed to become like the image I had of a “real author” before starting to write a book, I couldn’t start. When I decided to start without undue concern that I was unqualified, unlikely to finish, and highly unlikely to get a publishing deal, I was able to start and sustain my effort. I was doing nothing extraordinary, just mindfully engaging in pleasurable activity every time I permitted myself to write. And my ADHD defiant streak helped me activate…as I was going to write what I damn well pleased!
The practice of mindfulness is more about being than becoming. It involves acceptance and compassion for oneself, which is a good foundation for acceptance and compassion for others.