ADHD Self-Esteem

Building Self-Esteem in the Face of ADHD Challenges

Self-esteem issues are common in adults with ADHD, often stemming from a history of criticism and misunderstanding due to their symptoms. These experiences can erode confidence and self-worth. However, it's entirely possible to rebuild self-esteem by focusing on strengths, accomplishments, and developing coping strategies for ADHD symptoms. Engaging in therapy, seeking support from ADHD-friendly communities, and practicing self-compassion are effective ways to enhance self-esteem. Embracing and understanding ADHD can lead to a more positive self-image and a resilient sense of self, enabling individuals to thrive despite the challenges.

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Written by

Alice Gendron

Founder of The Mini ADHD Coach

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A word form our expert

The Relationship of ADHD & Self Esteem 

Have you wondered why ADHD can sometimes affect people’s self-esteem? Why do they tend to struggle greatly to regain their confidence? 

You see, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can significantly affect a person's way of thinking, especially when they feel they are bound to make mistakes any time 😔

The negative messages we often receive from others can affect how we view ourselves. Our self-compassion can diminish with small, seemingly simple comments that do not sit well with us. These negative comments, whether unsolicited or not, can hurt our feelings and become a factor in our low self-esteem.

With what's currently happening, many people with ADHD aren't safe from criticisms and hurtful comments. We are often subjected to unnecessary descriptions that are sometimes uncalled for. These things may be very far from the truth, so it's essential to know and understand what ADHD is and how it can affect one's self-esteem.

Inattentiveness and Other ADHD Symptoms

We can have difficulties in following instructions or may not be able to concentrate well when someone is giving us several at once. We might also daydream frequently, and our minds can wander to other places. We tend to do things impulsively, and other people might get hurt when we blurt out unnecessary comments.

Why am I telling you these? 🤔

Mistakes are often considered a part of an ADHD brain 🧠. Our unconscious mind tells us that because of ADHD, we will not be in the right direction and will mess up anything we are doing. We develop a mindset that affects how we act and manage our behavior, causing us not to do anything for the sake of not committing a mistake.

people with ADHD receive many negative feedback about their traits

This defense mechanism can further result in low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in life. The more we hide our untapped brilliance because we are afraid of failures, the more we'll think we’re not capable of anything amazing. 

For example, when we are told that we aren't following instructions because we are too occupied thinking outside the box, we try hard to limit ourselves and obey because we don't want to hear negative comments against us. We tend to feel shameful about our actions, which can cost us confidence. �

Effects of Negative Feedback

The criticisms we might receive from others and the thoughts that other people throw at us can affect our self-esteem significantly. This is because our minds might start to believe in the criticisms and opinions of other people. We might agree that we're different or inadequate even when we know we can do so much more. Our minds might start to tell us that even if we try our best to be accepted, there's still a chance that we might get rejected.

That's why many of us struggle with low self esteem

And as we all know, an ADHD brain does not stop thinking 😅. It produces too many ideas - both positive and negative. When the negative criticisms and judgment affect our self-confidence, we are bound to get emotional, making us unable to perform well or achieve better standing or success because we think we aren't good enough.

For me, one of the saddest things people with ADHD tend to experience is when they stop doing what they want because their negative feelings limit them. It's sad when their skills and potential are controlled by their low self-esteem. It's a shame that our confidence can be taken away by other people's thoughts and opinions, making us feel less than we are.

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Low Self-Esteem & Masking ADHD Mistakes

When we make countless mistakes and criticisms and negative feedback come our way, our self-esteem takes an even bigger hit 😭. We might start to believe that we aren't good enough, and that no matter what we do or how much effort we put into improving ourselves or doing something, people will only see the “bad” in us. We might start to accept these beliefs about ourselves as facts, leading to anxiety. 

That's why we often try to mask our ADHD traits, becoming satisfied with being a wallflower in the background, and never having the chance to make a difference.

years of negative feedbacks can have devastating effects on confidence...

However, though we may feel that we are always on the wrong side of the tracks, we have to remember that it’s just a feeling - it’s not reality 💪. Our brains are just wired differently. 

The self-awareness of an ADHD brain can be a strength. It is a strength because it allows us to understand ourselves deeply and be in control of our thoughts and feelings. 😘

Regaining Lost Confidence

Years of experiencing negative feedback can have a huge impact on our confidence. However, it does not mean we should let all the negative talk get to us; it shouldn't. 

but we can find solutions to regain our self esteem

Instead, we should start believing in ourselves because if no one else believes in us, then we must at least do self-love ❤️. It might be an uphill challenge, but it is possible to regain our confidence. It just takes a lot of work and effort on our part. Here are some of the ways we can rebuild our self-esteem:

Surrounding Yourself with Positivity

A person's self-esteem can easily be affected by negativity and judgment, and it can limit itself to those things. Likewise, when we give ourselves positive reinforcement and a healthy environment, we can be more optimistic 😉. Hence, we can focus better on our goals and achieve so much more. The power of positive emotions can bring us to the full potential that we never knew we had.

Find Inspiration From a Mentor or a Role Person

If you think you've been experiencing too many mistakes, maybe it's time to change your outlook. Look for inspiration with which you could relate yourself. Your teachers or parents 💏 may guide you and bring you advice on how to deal with the task or project you’re currently engaged in. 

like finding mentors and role models that are like us...

Maybe mistakes are not the problem, but self-confidence? Why not find someone to look up to who can help you build your self-esteem? Many famous persons who are diagnosed with ADHD still paved the way in their craft. What would have become of the skills they possessed if they remained bothered by their self-esteem?

Understanding your Strength

Some people may be great at doing other tasks, but others might struggle with the same activity. Let us understand that we all have our own set of skills that can turn into our strengths. We may not be good at other things, but we can be great at something else. With this, we can offer our help and services to those struggling, which may make us feel better about ourselves. This behavior and the mindset can reverse the effects of low self-esteem and turn them into something great and motivating. 🙌

understand your strengths...

Be Kind To Your ADHD Brain

It is essential to work together with your ADHD brain 🧠 and not against it. Though there are ADHD symptoms that are quite a struggle to handle, we can still use them to do better. We need to be more informed and knowledgeable about our neurodivergent condition, manage these ADHD traits, and have the self-control to not let them get the best of us.

Embrace Your ADHD Way of Doing Things

What's great about us is we don't confine ourselves within the usual thinking box. We always find a way of doing something beyond the expected. Most of my known acquaintances diagnosed with ADHD are creative and can think out of the box. They are also resourceful and can find solutions to problems in an instant. These traits make us unique people that should not be taken for granted. That's why I disagree when people call us lazy or stupid. We are intelligent in our own ways that we can be proud of. 😘

and embrace your own way of doing things

Talk to Your Mental Health Professional

If you still can't do your best in every assigned task because you struggle to have healthy self-esteem, the best way to cope with this is to discuss it with your ADHD specialist👩‍⚕️ . They are well-trained to address these problems well, can teach you strategies, and provide treatment if needed. They are always there to guide us on the right path.

A healthy self-esteem is an important thing to have for every person. High morale keeps us going and makes us inspired to do more. It also gives us the confidence to achieve more and partake in healthy relationships with the people around us. ADHD can directly affect our self-confidence, but we should still remember that we are in charge of ourselves 💪. We can get through any challenge if we have the right mindset and seek professional help when needed.

ADHD & Self-Esteem
ADHD & Self-Esteem
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ADHD and Self-Esteem: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is your general opinion of yourself. It is your belief of the things you can do and achieve. It is also the way you feel you deserve other’s respect and recognition.

Can ADHD affect a person’s self-esteem?

Yes, it can. In fact, many people with ADHD develop low self-esteem due to the symptoms they experience, such as making errors, being impulsive, and having problems in focusing and communicating.

How can you best address low self-esteem when you have ADHD?

The best way to address low self-esteem when you have ADHD is to accept that you are your own person with a unique set of skills and potential. Just because you’re not doing well in one aspect, doesn’t mean you can’t do well in others. Addressing your symptoms is also an important part of achieving healthy self-esteem. If you have problems with these, talking to your mental health coach will help.

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