Here’s a problem that those of us with ADHD have. We want to be known, recognized, accepted. And so we say things and do things. Things calculated to be noticed, remembered.
But we have no sense of time really, and we have no sense of appropriate. Okay, that’s not true. What is true is that in the heat of the moment, when an opportunity arises, we don’t take the time to assess appropriate, and we don’t think about long term impact.
And we assume that the words or the thing we do will be the thing that lasts.
But when we make people laugh, they remember that we made them laugh. When we make them feel love, they remember feeling love.
And when we piss them off, they remember that. Oh how they remember.
So why do we keep doing it?
I think we keep taking the risk because we keep wanting to recapture that moment that it worked,that time when we felt appreciated, maybe even admired.
But we can’t hold on to that. What we can hold on to is the feelings when we fail. The things we say that bring judgement our way and the feeling that judgement delivered, that’s what seems to ride our memories hard.
We remember the successes only enough to seed our desire to repeat them. We remember our failures well enough to fuel that desire.
And we love the grand gesture …
When we say or do the right thing, we only recognize it if it was huge. If we say the right things in a casual conversation, then no one gets upset with us, but no one is overwhelmed by our cleverness either.
This leaves a void in our need for excitement and risk and dopamine. That means we have time to dwell on needing that excitement, risk and dopamine.
But we don’t just dwell, we become driven to discover the thing that will succeed in a conversation in a big way.
And that’s when we take the risk
I can’t tell you not to do that, because I can’t tell you how not to do that. You, like I, will offer to do the thing that needs doing despite not having the time or ability. Also like I do, you will say the thing or do the thing that will get the most attention, hoping that it will be positive attention.
But the impulsive nature of our verbal intercourse means that we are testing our words in the heat of discourse, and sometimes the positive attention is not what we garner.
And likewise, the impulsive nature of our actions can garner us the same reactions.
What would Maya Angelou suggest?
Perhaps what we need is a quick means test for our words and deeds. Perhaps if we were to ask ourselves, “How will this make people feel?” I strongly suspect that this may be a flawed idea, but shall we see if it’s worth a try?
And if it works one time out of 100, I’d say that’s an improvement, no matter how small.
And anything that improves your life, is okay by me.