I used to consider one of my biggest flaws and worst character traits, or better said – lack thereof, was that I did not have any willpower.
They seemed to possess some secret power that I had somehow missed out on.
I have willpower, but like most people with ADHD I just did not know how to access it and this lead to a certain kind of frustration, which ran painfully deep. It started early, at a very young age. I grew up with a belief that willpower did not exist for me. It was so obvious to me that I lacked something (I didn’t know what it was called way back then) that I could see whatever it was so clearly in others. As a kid I was in awe of classmates who could set their mind to doing an assignment and just do it. They seemed to possess some secret power that I had somehow missed out on. This awareness for what others seemed to have, which I lacked, made me feel terrible as a youth. It was maddening and quite demoralizing to say the least.
The problem was, and is, not that I do not have willpower. It was how I had come to define willpower to myself, that was the problem. Today I understand that I have an abundance of willpower and I have always had it!
This is what popped into my head a few years ago, while I was meditating:
The only way you will take command of your willpower, hold it at your beck and call, is when you truly understand what willpower means to you. You have ADHD and therefore, you feel, you think and you react differently than those who do not have ADHD and, for that reason, I ask you this: Why would you think of willpower in the terms of those who do not have ADHD?
Once I understood and accepted that I think and process information differently, I discovered that I can access willpower, in my very own way, at any time I want.
I think a major problem for many of us with ADHD is when we define ourselves by the way others without ADHD do things. Why do we think of doing something in the way those who do not have ADHD do them?
My way of finding motivation in anything is to first find something about the task, or subject, which interests me and then become inquisitive about whatever it is. Once I become inquisitive I can become extremely motivated. Someone else may find that setting goals helps, or perhaps picturing the outcome – which is one of my personal favorites.
I have learned that it is imperative for me to define willpower in ways my particular mind can relate to and utilize. That is the answer I came up with for myself. After this realization, it made it so much easier to find the right coping skills and various solutions for me. Defining myself by the performance and capabilities of others has always put me at a disadvantage; however, learning to define myself with how I can do things, in ways that work for me, has helped me meet expectations and even exceed them. The great thing about it is that with the further success I have of accomplishing anything, no matter how small, the more assertive and self-confident I become.
Today, I am a very high performer in the things I can do well and I know there is much room for me to continue to improve. Improving myself is something I look forward to everyday… I used to dread it, because I was measuring up to something which was intangible to me.
Now, the caveat, it is beneficial to learn how someone else does something well and, to learn from those who have gone before; however, I must allow myself to modify things to what works for me.
What about you?