My opinions are powerful

I have strong opinions. Whether I verbalize them or not, I feel passionate about my stance on various issues, and it shows when I debate things with my friends or my partner. What I’m realizing is that my opinion isn’t the only one. I need to listen to others so that I can view things from alternate perspectives other than mine. It’s difficult when I get locked into my viewpoint. I want to convince the other person that I’m right, I see things clearly, and I’m determined to get the person to follow my lead. I’m stubborn, but I know I’m not omniscient. I struggled with my obstinant behavior, and I’m learning what to do next.

Mindfulness and ADHD

I tend to interrupt people when I don’t agree with their opinions, but that’s not productive to a back and forth discussion. It’s hard to curb the impulse to interrupt, but I’m working on ways to stay in the moment, take a deep breath, and listen to what the other person is telling me. They’re allowed to have a differing opinion from mine. Two diverse perspectives can exist, and there’s validity to both of them. When I have the desire to interrupt, I know this sounds strange, but I think to myself “the other person will stop talking and you can hang on to your thought until that happens.” One of my fears having ADHD is that I’ll forget what I want to say because I won’t have a chance to speak. What’s the worst case scenario? I forget what I want to say, and I’ll think of something else to add to the conversation. It’s not a tragedy if I can’t recall my thought. What’s going to help me more than interrupting is focusing on what the person in front of me is saying, and considering an alternative perspective from mine.

I’m not always right

When I went to couples counseling, I learned about active listening. I realized that I’d fixate on my opinion to the point where I could not see outside of it. I believed wholeheartedly that my partner had it all wrong. He was viewing the situation in a distorted way, and I thought if he could only see things from my perspective everything would be different. Of course, it’s gratifying when someone recognizes your viewpoint, but let’s stop here for a moment. If I take a second and step away from my perception of the way things are, and try to understand what my partner is thinking and feeling, the chances that he’ll want to see how I see things are higher than if I dig my heels in the ground. I’m not invariably right, and to take it one step further, nobody is “always” anything. When you view the world in black and white, it’s detrimental to your wellbeing. What a second, that’s a black and white statement right there. It’s not necessarily detrimental; I happen to view black and white thinking as harmful; however, many people think this way and they’re functioning in the world. I happen to notice that operating as if there are only two possible options doesn’t make me feel good about myself. It stagnates me for being able to understand other people and work through problems.

My perspective matters

There’s a balance between honoring other people’s opinions and having respect for how I think and feel. I don’t want to become a martyr; I have a right to my feelings and to be understood and emotionally validated. However, there are times when people won’t understand me, and I can’t make them see what I see. That is what I struggle with a lot. I keep wanting to convince the other person that they need to understand me, but they decide what they need. I don’t get to dictate what someone else needs. What I have control over are my actions. I’m learning to honor the opinions of others while respecting mine. It’s not an instantaneous process, but I’ll get there.