Can you remember a situation where you believe that you have been clear in your communication, and listened carefully to the other person? Yet, you still left the encounter feeling frustrated, angry, sad or demoralized?
In typical AD/HD fashion, you may start ruminating about the incident to the extent that it takes up so much of your “head space” that you have little time to think of anything else. It may even end up affecting how you operate in your day to day life.
You may find that you:
- are unable to concentrate on other tasks.
- have problems sleeping and eating.
- become “edgy” with friends, family members colleagues and, even strangers you encounter during your day.
- and, perhaps, stop doing your self-care routines, like exercising.
If you do any of the above because of the thoughts swirling about in your head, it is time to take a time out, get grounded and look at the “truth of your reality.” Yes, it is true that your perception is your reality. Is it the truth, though?
It is typical for us ADDers to think in terms of black and white. Though we “know” that there are many other perspectives, we just don’t see them in the moment.
So, it is important to analyze the conversation in a more dispassionate way in order to counter this tendency. By taking a step back, and giving yourself some space you can see what is really true and what is your perspective. You can also create a follow-up plan. I know this is not easy. It will take practice, but you can do it.
With a particular incident in mind, answer the following questions.
- What actually happened? Focus on just the facts of the situation at first. That is, describe what happened. For example, you go into talk to your boss and he says that he can’t talk right now.
- How are you feeling about the situation? After this conversation with your boss, maybe you start feeling mad that he does not have time for you
- When you have these feelings, what are you thinking? Maybe when you became mad, you may have thought that your boss dislikes and/or does not respect you.
- Is there another way that the conversation could possibly be interpreted? Do you know that the boss really dislikes or disrespects you?
- How would you feel, if you accepted other interpretations? How would you feel if you thought the boss was just incredibly busy on that day?
- What do you want? In this case, it could be that you want to be liked and respected by your boss.
- What are you willing to do to get what you want? Are you willing to have a conversation with your boss to check out your perspective?
This is a challenging exercise to go through by yourself. If you think it might help, ask someone to do it with you. You might even ask for their perspective on the situation.
As we all know, perception is reality, right? However we also know that our perception isn’t always the truth.
If you are not sure, check it out.