Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘ADD’

People Are Not Labels

Labels are for Soup Cans

https://www.flickr.com/photos/poorcans/20900661451/in/photolist-xQVmtV-yh8Gq-8Br9Sd-4Maaoo-aQmNMR-6EtxkP-4yy1G9-2Pvp9C-8FsGxQ-7ACUMX-7YQMzo-sKdkT-6gF66N-4k4cjt-tH52Y-7wBA9z-Uq8r73-6naAjp-5WoaMD-7qEHtt-NphFXZ-8C8jQm-26PmX2c-8KwHYS-7Pc1gd-6BYvZN-2e9wtSE-EKpx8-6GaRw7-QtPQN8-283eQFu-s7emTJ-qJT9mH-zauotZ-21EW38n-C5z8wF-6KkmjD-HXUSJ-69sF6V-dPZ1QG-BL7Pye-m5bGQX-ajS8qC-8AyreB-8HEnCg-8gXZjp-6HNM47-bvN9eN-79sdVC-86nchvI’ve always found it both offensive and short sighted to assign labels to people because invariably it leads to a judgement based on generalized characteristics. Lately, I’ve realized I’m guilty of labeling and judging myself, and frankly, I don’t like what I see.

As an Empath who attracts other Empaths, I’ve learned to be especially aware of attracting Narcissists too. My fight or flight reflexes are set to ultra-sensitive after too many experiences with people who only loved my for my energy and nurturing qualities. But sometimes I overdo it, especially when I operate under the mistaken belief I need to protect my friends.

Observe More, Label Less

Lately, I’ve applied the label “Narcissist” too often and too quickly, instead of standing back and watching; allowing the person to show their many facets instead of focusing in on a single one. Needless to say, I’ve judged people overly harshly, overlooking signs there may be something far more complex going on.

When my daughters were young, a psychologist was quick to label them ADHD and ADD, completely overlooking their intelligence and ability to learn and understand complex concepts quickly, even at a young age. A year or so later when they’d tested into the G.A.T.E. (Gifted and Talented Education) Program, I attended the parents’ orientation meeting. Large posters were tacked above the blackboards in the classroom depicting various aspects of the G.A.T.E. personality. Lo and behold, the characteristics were EXACTLY the same as the ones I’d been told were indicative of ADD and ADHD.

While contemplating my guilt in being too quick to apply the label “Narcissist” I’m reminded of that long-ago lesson. We all exhibit a wide variety of behaviors which are common to different personality types. That doesn’t mean we ARE a certain personality type. I suspect there are some who exhibit narcissistic behavior when they simply haven’t learned how to have a give and take kind of relationship. It’s not that they don’t want to be loving and giving. It hasn’t made it into their skill set yet either through nature or nurture.

Personalities Formed By Nature and Nurture

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mamnaimie/8680429035/in/photolist-ee4t8z-cNjy5-oKBJYc-7tRBmg-7dpdWv-buv1Nu-aDa4AY-51uTxq-fRQgnM-7zy4Hg-ceoS1-5u6JJ6-8JFHxV-7zy4Be-ceox3-apMg6S-bR4un-dq9xPC-4zmBQJ-hPY7A8-3bZjT7-daFcd2-6ZUq3Z-27uhQ9f-r7LzYM-K5keCM-L2RZSV-dg2mJw-2bFvdJJ-i63E4D-h9hrmr-JBNmhV-7pv8vg-f8R7b2-bj66S-rBh74r-DGtb3m-EkjWM8-dg2mfg-AcSwRy-26RUBUZ-fJwZNH-prZ4C3-23RFdN8-bj6mk-8zSsSY-defSSm-4Kx1jx-pEcuwd-eiC5SUMy family wasn’t the warm, touchy-feely type. I learned how to be affectionate and loving only after I started recognizing familial behavior patterns that needed to be broken and started breaking them. To someone on the outside looking in, I suspect a lot of my behavior was narcissistic in nature.

Someone on the Autism spectrum also isn’t inclined to show affection or even endure being touched. They might appear overly demanding while giving nothing back, even though they’re giving as much as they’re able.

Sometimes we have to take a step back and ask how we’d feel if someone slapped a label on us and dismissed us out of hand, especially when we’re doing so to someone else. When an Empath friend sees something of value in that person despite their outward behavior, it’s a pretty good indication we need to broaden our perspective and give that person another chance. Maybe there’s more than meets my admittedly jaded eye.

Never to Old to Form New Patterns

For years, I had few friends and no one close because I shut everyone out, or more accurately, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8156999698/in/photolist-dqNKPQ-8xXrZz-a2tqF7-ecib3q-aR5rxR-23UMduh-aWLsg4-aQ6X3p-dTTc5c-dcyQ5m-b1FLUp-drS8ZF-bsmN5R-nNhBzE-6ssEeg-9jEcfZ-aVXtzx-j6LK2o-aNpZyT-dCTfD3-dvswdt-b3pgdi-dtXu4B-6LJawW-8CFHEg-8aL7Jf-hDdmuC-anA578-cPoDxo-9qmjuQ-dtXueV-qsdJSm-dqq1i2-2cGG4pp-dqq1sP-hp14Hw-cbnjHE-7bv7xs-chavXC-7uLgNT-8E3GL9-ar7X3y-aai6ME-nt1LXG-gZvg1N-S1DgTf-8kUop7-6532HD-exeWcJ-di6ynQclosed myself in. But even as I open up to people, I still crawl back into my turtle shell when faced with behavior which at one time caused me pain. While it’s important for me to break old family patterns of behavior, I’m beginning to see I need to look at some of the patterns I formed myself.

Certain actions on the part of others trigger old memories. Those memories are painful, so the corresponding emotions are triggered causing me to shut down instead of protecting myself and adopting a wait-and-see attitude. By failing to give the person who triggered the memory a chance to show me the many facets of their being, I’m cheating myself out of getting to know someone who may have many amazing qualities, and who could bring new and wonderful experiences to my life.

Expanding Our Comfort Zone

By going with my first response and slapping the “narcissist” label on someone I don’t know very well, I’m ending a potentially wonderful relationship before it ever has a chance to take root. In every case, the only one I’m really cheating is myself, and to what purpose? Will their lives be less because I’m not part of their social circle? Probably not. Will they be hurt or slighted when I shut down and turn away? Maybe for a minute, but they’ll have plenty of others ready and willing to give them the chance I don’t.

I think instinctively I still believe I need to keep my circle small and well-known. But people become well-known and trusted over time. When we label people such that they’re unworthy of our circle, we’re really moving ourselves to the outside. Others are including them so our obvious negativity is going to affect everyone and leave us standing alone eventually.

I’ve been enjoying being part of a large, diverse group, but realize I’ll endanger my own acceptance if I believe I’m in a position to look down on anyone for any reason, much less a single behavior pattern which triggers unpleasantness for me. I need to remember ostracizing leads to being ostracized. I talk a lot about acceptance, forgiveness, and positivity, but there are times I fall back on old patterns, to my detriment.

Oh, Those Less-than-subtle Reminders

The Universe finds ways to remind me I’m being unkind and judgemental. It shows me myself 10 or 15 years ago, alone, lonely, angry, and judgemental. I had no compassion for anyone, not even myself. It’s a harsh but effective reminder I need to take a good, hard look at my own behavior and fix it before I break something important. I need to reach deep inside and connect, not with old pain that’s outlived its usefulness, but with the compassion I’ve found in recent years.

Do you assign labels before you get to know a person? Do you dismiss people without a fair chance? A chance you’d want to be given yourself? Do you allow old pain responses to cheat you out of adding amazing people to your social circle? Answer these questions honestly and without emotions clouding your judgement. You might find you’ve been unduly harsh a time or two like me. It’s not too late to fix what may only be chipped or cracked. Open your heart, and shut down the automatic responses. You might find a few diamonds amidst the rocks you so casually tossed away.

Showing Gratitude for Gifts Both Great and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for reminders to be kinder and more compassionate.
  2. I am grateful for friends who set examples I need to learn to follow.
  3. I am grateful to be able to recognize and change some of my own conditioned responses.
  4. I am grateful for the experiences which created the conditioned responses, and the lessons I’ve learned which allow me to let those responses go.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, kindness, compassion, joy, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

November 15, 2014 A day in the life…with ADD #shericonaway

Considering a change? No problem! Let ADD help!

Getting ready for bed at around 2AM after exceeding my NaNoWriMo goal and writing a less than optimal blog post, I realized that I needed to make another change or three. Then I thought about what I would write about today in my blog. I promised myself I’d remember the topic and didn’t bother to write it down before tumbling myself into the warmth of a soft bed and snuggly cats.

This morning as I was going through my usual morning stuff and putting in my contacts, the blog topic from last night, of course, evaded me. But then I noticed that one of the cats had managed to pee outside of the potty pad I’d begun putting underneath the sand box when Patches, my old girl, started expressing her displeasure at the addition of two rowdy kittens by doing her deed over the edge of the box.

Contacts in, I started the necessary cleanup only to find that she’d managed to saturate the floor under the sand box! OK, points for creativity here! Keep in mind that in human years, this cat is about 102!

Deciding this was a job for the mop, I retrieved said implement from the garage, cleaned up the mess, and realized that the basket where I usually toss the used mop pads was still full of linens which one of my rat catching cats had found to be an even better bed than the comforter on the garage floor.

I looked at the basket and said to myself “Self, there’s no time like the present!” So saying, I took the basket into the house and proceeded to cram the contents into my overflowing linen closet where the thought occurred to me that I need to pull out all of the twin sized linens and offer them up on Freecycle. (thankfully, I didn’t act on that idea immediately!)

Returning the basket to the garage, I put the mop pad inside and chanced to glance at the dryer which still contained part of the load of clothes I’d washed earlier in the week. That darned little devil named “No time like the present” was still sitting on my shoulder, so that load, too, was pulled out, folded up and put away.

By now, my coffee was cold and my yogurt was warm, but now I remembered what I wanted to talk about today.

Change: Be careful what you wish for.

Working on my latest novel tends to wind me up even more than dancing. Picture a sugar rush that just keeps giving and giving and giving. Unfortunately, that rush does not let me settle down to write a blog post for hours! So it occurred to me that, at least while I’m working on the latest novel, and maybe on into perpetuity, I need to rethink the timing of my blog posts; that is, I need to change up my routine.

To many of you out there, the idea of revamping your tried and true (for some reason, my fingers wanted to type “tired” instead of “tried”. Want to weigh in, Mr. Freud?) routine can be nothing short of terrifying. But my ADD thrives on messing up the status quo. It’s the same routine, day after day, week after week which will drive me into the doldrums. So in the spirit of mixing things up, I’ve realized that I need to do my blog post earlier in the day instead of late at night.

I also realized why writing late at night works best for me. My mind is a little tired and is less likely to interfere with the creative process. When subconscious mind jumps in and says (quite rudely, I might add) “Move over, you anal retentive twit! It’s my turn to run the show now!” it encounters little resistance from the part of my brain that has spent most of the day solving problems or taking care of chores.

At any rate, the blog must go on, so the writing will be done when normal people are up and moving, leaving the hours between 9PM and 3AM for the creation of something wonderful and entertaining (we must keep our mind positive). One of these works of sweat and blood will be the one to launch that new career of mine which has been clamoring for attention for most of my life. Ignoring it became unbearable about a year ago, so here I sit, writing whatever comes into my head, day after day.

So what was the topic again? Oh, yes. Change. I needed to make a few again. It seems like this comes up every 2-3 months, and after I shake things up a bit, life gets better. Recent changes like a better gym routine and weekly produce boxes have resulted in more energy, feeling healthier and increased confidence. (not to mention, a freezer full of heat and eat meals)

Don’t ask “what price, change?”. Instead, ask “what profit, change?”

So many people ask what making a change will cost them in terms of time, comfort, money, well-being, or what have you. I think that’s why it’s so scary for many. To me, change means that I’m making my life better: More time, less stress, better health, more good habits, more time in the healing energy of my cats and more time to visit my daughter and grand furries. If I could offer people one piece of advice, I’d say “Change often. Look at it as an opportunity to further enhance your life. Look at the possibilities and downplay or ignore the costs.” Ok, that was a whole bunch of pieces tied together, but you get what I mean, I hope. But lest I haven’t made myself clear Change is good for you! Change makes you stronger, healthier, happier, sexier. Change eliminates boredom!

I walk through the gym where my friend Barb has made me aware of the fact that the majority of the occupants are male, and I walk proudly, head up, shoulders back, stomach tightening from all of the crunches and Pilates I’ve been doing, and I feel nothing short of amazing. All this from making a few changes.

What’s stopping you? Don’t be afraid of rapidly increasing happiness. If you find you have too much, just spread it around. Smile at everyone you see!

Happiness is a miracle drug and change is the catalyst.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my love of change.
2. I am grateful that I remembered my idea for today’s blog topic.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread happiness.
4. I am grateful to my friends for keeping my eyes open and my spirit alert.
5. I am grateful for abundance: joy, happiness, change, energy, health, love, friendship, inspiration, motivation and prosperity.

Namaste

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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