ADHD self-love

Self-love for the ADHDer

Today’s blog post was inspired by a Frank Zappa quote heading up a recent post by Daniel Tomasulo (great post, btw, Daniel!).  The quote was: 

I detest love lyrics. I think one of the causes of bad mental health in the United States is that people have been raised on love lyrics.

This is an opinion I’ve held for decades, except that I’d expand it to refer to the world, since by now, North American culture permeates most of the planet.

And what’s this got to do with ME, you ask?

So, how does this apply to ADHDers?

Even if you don’t suffer from comorbid depression with your ADHD, most of us do experience a crisis of confidence or low self-esteem some – or much – of the time.

After a lifetime of cumulative negative experiences, we might even find it hard to love ourselves. I’ve questioned my loveability more than once.  (Yes. I made up the word, “loveability” …like it?)

An easy and fun way to create self-love for ADHDers

Reading Tomasulo’s post, I was reminded of an exercise that a very wise therapist gave me many years ago: take every love song you ever heard, and turn it on yourself. Sounds corny, but it works. I’d like to share this technique with you.

All you have to do is think of a popular love song, (ones that you really like work best), and change the words to point to yourself.

To give you an idea of how to do this, let’s take one that most of us know, Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You.

Ready?  Ok, EVERYBODY:

I just called to say I love me
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love me
and I mean it from the bottom of my heart

Sometimes you have to get silly to get serious help

Didn’t that feel great? No?

Okay, I admit, it feels a little silly and contrived at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself dancing around the kitchen crooning sweet love songs to yourself like nobody’s business.

This really works. If ever I’m feeling less-than-loving towards myself, it only takes a song or two for me to feel better. If nothing else, it’s kind of hilarious and makes me laugh, which always breaks through the self-hate. You can’t laugh and dislike yourself at the same time (I can’t, anyway).

The key to success

The trick is: you have to sing it like you mean it.

Put your heart and soul into it. It’s not unlike self-talk, or what those of us familiar with therapy know as, overcoming the old tapes.

After we’ve spent so much time internalizing negative messages about who we are, we need to spend at least that much time again internalizing positive messages. This is a really fun way to do it!

Self-love practice lessons (and no, I’m not talking Kama Sutra for one, that’s another blog post…or not…)

Now that we’re warmed up, here are a few more to try.

Another great Stevie Wonder song, I can almost guarantee, will have you smiling:

I Am The Sunshine Of My Life

I am the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always be around,
I am the apple of my eye,
Forever I’ll stay in my heart

Let’s get real: we’re stuck with ourselves, might as well enjoy it!

Think about it … doesn’t that make perfect sense? After all, and I don’t mean this cynically, but: we really are the only ones we KNOW will be around, for sure, ‘til death do us part, right?  So we might as well love and take care of ourselves ‘til the end.

The extremely popular song Without You, lyrics by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, is a blatant example of how some love songs are downright damaging to our psychological well-being.

If you take it at face value, (which we automatically do, unless we’re in the habit of questioning the messages we’re spoon-fed from birth), the original lyric is a pathetic and tragic example of neurotic neediness and lack of self:

I can’t live, if living is without you…

Ironically, it makes complete sense if we turn the lyrics on ourselves:

I can’t live, if living is without me
I can’t live, I can’t give any more
I can’t live, if living is without me
I can’t give, I can’t give any more

Try singing that with the depth of emotion of the original recording, and see if it doesn’t change your outlook, if not your life.

Now that you’ve got the hang of it…

For something more upbeat, try:

Michael Jackson’s I Want You Back

Oh baby, all I need is one more chance
To show me that I love me
Won’t I please let me back in my heart
Oh darlin’, I was blind to let me go
Let me go, baby…

Okay, some songs work better than others. I included the Michael Jackson one because a lot of us love Michael Jackson, and it might even get you dancing around the house.

…and singing to yourself is just the beginning!

I can’t give you a money-back guarantee that this technique will make you feel better, but if you put your heart into it, I’d be amazed if it didn’t cheer you up almost instantly!

Next year, I’m even thinking of sending myself a Valentine (but don’t let that stop you from sending me one too, ha ha!)

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