By Carol Gignoux –
Karen is a 23 year old woman who felt extremely uncomfortable around people. She originally contacted ADD Insights for coaching services, because she felt she had nothing to offer. By her own admission, she felt she was unattractive and had nothing interesting to say. Karen did not attend social events when she could avoid them and stayed in the background when she was forced to appear by virtue of appeals from friends or family. She was not making new friends in college and did not date. Karen lived in denial of how miserable she was until one day she looked in the mirror and thought hard about how intolerable it would be to spend her entire life this way. Karen began crying as she contemplated a life of no fun or not having a family and husband of her own. And how would she ever advance in her career if she didn’t get a grip?
Karen made a decision – she was ready to look for help. Hadn’t one of her friends been seeing a “coach”? Maybe she should start by asking her friend about it.
During our coaching sessions, our exploration revealed that Karen felt less capable than the people around her. This had been a problem for many years and was now a major problem in college. Even though she was capable of making good grades, her social ineptness held her back academically as she had a difficult time participating in class or speaking with her professors if necessary. Watching everyone having fun around her when she wasn’t was taking its toll. As a result, Karen developed a judgmental and resentful attitude toward her classmates and other students. Because she felt no one liked her, she was jealous of what others had that she thought she lacked. It seemed easy for them; why was it so hard for her?
Through our coaching together, Karen became more aware of these “shadow” behaviors and thoughts and how these negative interpretations of herself and others were affecting her relationships and opportunities. She began to realize how these interpretations and assumptions were creating reasons for her not to engage with others and to feel bad about herself. Karen began to see that she was unconsciously punishing herself for not being good enough. As a result of these insights, Karen saw that she was the one who was responsible for holding herself back.
As we continued to work together, and the months went by, Karen began to see her talents and skills from a more realistic perspective. With support, she was able to take more risks and acquire real evidence that people did seem to like her after all, but had felt she was unapproachable. She began to see herself as a whole person and to understand the importance of accepting both her shadow side as well as her light side. She felt more confident and interested in making new friends. And instead of spending most of her energy trying to hide her shadow thoughts, she practiced acceptance of all aspects of herself. In doing so, Karen began to feel more positive. Most importantly, as Karen began accepting herself, she began accepting others.
Karen’s story reminds us that when we allow ourselves to accept our limitations as well as our strengths, our shadow side as well as our light, our failures as well as our successes, our loving nature as well as our anger and resentment, we bring the lost light back into our lives. When we cut off acceptance of all emotions and feelings which constitute our complete self, we are literally cutting off our ability to address them, grow from our understanding, and thrive in life. It is when we deny and shame ourselves that these negative emotions take on a life of their own and cause us to act these emotions out.
Always remember that the light of acceptance that we hold for ourselves and others will illuminate even the darkest corners of our hearts. And as we illuminate our hearts through complete self-acceptance, we make it possible for those around us to accept themselves fully and completely. I have found that the joy that comes from complete self-acceptance and knowing our true value, and seeing it reflected in the eyes of others cannot be matched!
As the founder and CEO of ADD Insights, LLC, Carol Gignoux’s passion is to provide services that transform the lives of people with ADHD. Carol is well established as an expert within the ADHD coaching profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years coaching.
Carol is a national speaker on ADHD topics and a motivational speaker on living authentically. In addition to coaching her clients with ADHD, she trains and supervises new ADHD coaches, and creates seminars and workshops that show people how to achieve their full potential.