Can you imagine yourself living in total isolation from other humans? Probably not. Humans evolved as social beings. We need each other. We often cherish our relationships above almost anything else in our lives. These relationships can take many forms: parent/child; romantic partners; co-workers; doctor/patient; customer/salesperson, etc.
We all deeply enjoy those moments or days when our relationships with others are harmonious and satisfying. There are times, however, when relationships are experienced as one of the most challenging parts of our lives. Challenging relationships seem to be especially common for folks with ADHD. Why is that?
ADHD “brain wiring” often includes traits such as impulsivity, time blindness,emotional dysregulation, slowness to pick up on social skills, etc. These traits can easily create inharmony in a relationship.
ADHDers often feel that the primary solution is for others to change or at least make more allowances for ADHD traits. When the ADHDer remains stuck in this perspective of focusing on how the other needs to change, they miss a wonderful opportunity to take responsibility for learning how to understand and alter their own contribution to the inharmony.
Reliable restoration of harmony in a relationship is very much dependent on at least one party’s shifting away from focusing on what is wrong with the other and focusing instead on their own mistakes, however small they may seem. This is a powerful tool that we all can benefit from applying.
Our egos easily get in the way of our applying this tool, so we might be helped by remembering an alternate version of the “serenity prayer” I came across recently:
Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,
the courage to change the one I can,
and the wisdom to know it’s me.