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While dealing with the challenges of ADHD you are likely to experience many different emotions and feelings.
Yet, I often hear from clients some variation of the following when they are talking about their feelings. “But this is coaching, so I probably shouldn’t go into this too much.”
Somewhere along the way many of us got the message that taking care of our feelings and moving toward our goals are incompatible.
Learning and Moving Forward
Revealing and exploring our feelings is a necessary part of the process of learning and moving forward.
In fact, the key to how successful we are in creating the life we want can lie with what we do with our feelings.
There are even times when I suggest to my clients to seek out the support of a therapist in order to do this work and heal so that they can move forward more effectively. Though working with an ADD Coach and a therapist simultaneously can also work wonderfully for some.
Putting Our Feelings On The Shelf
In my own life and in my dealings with clients I have seen how not dealing with our feelings by denying them, hiding from them or avoiding them can get in the way of living an authentic life and having good relationships.
We may run away from them by overeating, watching too much TV, drinking too much or a multitude of other ways that will allow us to hide.
Sometimes we express them in unproductive ways. Managing emotions is one of the challenges for some with ADHD, which I explored in my article, ADD and Anger: Is It Getting In Your Way? We may express anger when we are really feeling sad or frustrated. For some anger is safer or it has become a habitual way to respond.
We may also mask our feelings and put on a happy face, while underneath we might be feeling sad or angry. Then we don’t communicate directly, and, perhaps, express ourselves in passive aggressive ways.
Feelings Give Us Information
As I’ve said before, feelings are not bad or good.
How are you feeling right now?
Are you feeling calm, energetic, happy, certain or inspired? I bet you could identify the reasons for these pleasant feelings. If you have “good” feelings, how are you being or what are you doing that is allowing you to feel this way? I bet you would like these feelings to continue.
Alternatively, are you feeling angry, depressed, confused, afraid, hurt or sad? What is it that is happening to bring about these feelings? Are you being who you want to be or doing what you want to do?
Ignoring these unpleasant feelings won’t help. The risk is that they end up controlling us in some way.
Interpreting This Information
When we take time to feel our feelings, even our unpleasant feelings, we can make conscious choices about what do with them.
- Do you want to act on your feelings? Do you need to express them? Do you need to change something in your life?
- Maybe you just need to talk, to have someone hear you. Who do you need to be a witness for you?
- Your thoughts, how you perceive situations, can lead to feelings. Is there another perspective that you could hold that is also true, but would leave you feeling different? Do you want to explore other perspectives?
When we acknowledge our feelings, and make a choice about what to do with them, we can be more in charge of our life.
Do you have feelings that you are denying, hiding from or avoiding? How is this affecting your life?
It can be hard, but bringing your feelings out into the light can help you get unstuck and move forward.
If it is too challenging to do on your own, especially if they are the result of some trauma from your past, please seek out professional help.
I wish you all the best.