Back to Blog

Ask Dr B about feeling powerless, hopeless & covering up your challenges – 095

adhd ask dr. b podcast self-esteem Feb 11, 2022

80% of the new students coming into the ADDventures In Achievement Foundational Skills program feel powerless over their current behaviors, are filled with self-loathing, and feel like an impostor - having lived with so many challenges their entire life.  They constantly look over their shoulder least they be found out.

In today’s episode, I’m focusing on feelings you’re probably familiar with, and how shining a light on these feelings, and the beliefs that feed them leads you to heal your needless suffering.  Hiding your challenges and feelings only makes things worse, not better.  You feel bad about what you aren’t yet able to do and feel worse because you’re hiding.  You’ve turned this into a moral issue when it is just the under-development of some of your EF skills.  And being able to share what you are thinking and feeling about yourself in the safety of our program community provides you with the opportunity to release the shame and guilt you’ve been carrying for years and kept to yourself.  The love and support inside our private community is priceless.

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • Feeling powerless and hopeless
  • Covering up your challenges
  • Strategy to start helping yourself
  • 4 action steps to take now

Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and newfound freedom in your life!

My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses.  And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.

 

 

Full Episode Transcript Identifying and Evicting Your Limiting Beliefs – 095

My job is 3 things – identify a specific problem they are having, create a demand gap between the 2 avatars and raise their awareness by revealing something they are doing to create their specific problem. If they knew that what they are doing is creating the problem, they would most likely stop doing it.

As is the nature of transformation work, insights continue to reveal themselves.

When the ADDventures In Achievement program first launched, 5 years ago, releasing limiting beliefs and upgrading identities wasn’t in the curriculum. And, over time, as I’ve worked with students in the program, it’s evolved and limiting beliefs and identities became important to weave into the transformational work.

Things change over time if they are evolving. Think back to a time when you expressed yourself in a group of people or even with one other person, only to have them say that they don’t believe what you believe. I’m sure you’ve had at least one such experience. What we each believe is unique to us and is the culmination of so many factors.

What we each believe isn’t generally a fact, but rather something we have chosen to believe as if it’s a fact.

Some examples of “limiting beliefs” that may pertain to you, my listeners, are:
1. Belief: Getting a diagnosis is the only way or best way to get help with your suspected ADHD.
a. Fact: You can get yourself help right away, even without a diagnosis. You just can’t get medication prescribed or get accommodations at work or in academia without a diagnosis.
2. Belief: You must not have ADHD if professionals have told you that you don’t because they are trained to know.
a. Fact: Most professionals are not trained to know. There are no “requirements” to study anything about adult ADHD or under- developed Executive Function skills in adults. And definitely nothing “required” to study anything about developing adult EF skills and improving our quality of life because of that development.

Introduction VO here.

Have you ever been served with an eviction notice? It’s a very short timeline; 3 days and you’re out if you get served with one. This is what I came up with for getting rid of limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. Also, “return to sender” stamp on them and back they go.

The PO has a stamp that says “return to sender” when something is getting returned to the person who sent it. How many people have sent you messages or statements or beliefs or experiences that need to be “returned to sender”? They are their messages; not yours.

You mind wants you to believe that you can’t or you won’t or it isn’t possible or that you are broken or limited in so many ways. This just isn’t true. You are the pure potential and essence of you, the human being.

Who taught you to think? Who taught you to see with clarity? What I remember of my childhood is that no one taught me to think or see with clarity. What people did is say things like “what were you thinking” when what I thought was the right choice wasn’t and things went bad. Or, “how could you think that” when I expressed my thoughts. I thought what I thought and what people said made no sense to me.

If no one teaches us to think well or how to see with clarity, what does that mean for us as adults? I means that we are going to struggle in all that we do because we are living blind to so much of truth or reality.

It’s not enough to model behavior for my students and teach them how to develop their EF skills and strategies. If I don’t help them to understand what needs to be going on inside of them in order to process information accurately then they won’t be able to even with better developed EF skills. Their limiting beliefs or outdated identity will hold them back.

When Jim Rohn said, “for things to change, you have to change” it would be easy to think he meant doing things differently so that things can change. What I know he meant is that we each need to change from who we are today to whoever we need to be so that the changes we want to see in our life can be there because we are the person who can have that life and keep it.

Transformation is an inside job. We will see results on the outside in how our life looks or where we live or how we look. And to see those results, we need to change from the inside out.

If my identity or who I say I am is an alcoholic, then I know I will be someone who drinks. And even if I have worked the 12 steps of AA, had a sponsor and done the work and gone to any lengths, so long as I keep saying that I am an alcoholic, I will be someone who drinks. And the same is true with saying that I am anything else. Whether I say I am an ADDer or a nut or a dancer or an artist or a writer or an actor or whatever I say I am, I am that and to be that I will need to be doing certain things for that to be true. As an ADDer, I will need to do the things that are listed in the DSM-V; that list of symptoms. I will need to have those symptoms and they will be how I live and act. As a podcaster, I will need to have a podcast and consistently put out podcast content. As a mother, I will need to have a child. As an employer, I will need to have an employee.

Who am I and what do I want to do with my life? So many people have no idea how to answer that question. They know about everyone else in their life; just not about themselves.

Certainly, through much of my life, I would set goals or say things that I wanted to be different, but I never considered how I would need to change and who I would need to become for those changes to actually happen, because the changes can't happen within the old me. If they could have, they would have. Instead, the changes belong to the new me. They belong to the me that changed. And in the new me that changed, all kinds of things can become a part of my life and change for me. But not with the old me. So, if I stay the same, and be the same me that I was years and years ago, with the same habits and the same people in my life, with the same way of thinking, and the same way of doing, with the same limited beliefs - If I want to keep all of the old stuff, then, the new me cannot emerge.

The new me is what's going to contain all of the new changes that I continually have said that I want. And the same thing is true for you. If I want the changes, I say I want, I need to create and move into an upgraded version of myself – I need to be that person starting today. I do this by keeping the best of who I am and then upgrading the rest. Another way of saying it comes from a song that a friend of mine wrote years ago called “Travel Light” – he said, “take with you the best, and leave the rest behind.” So, when I was making this transformation in my own life, I followed that advice. I traveled light. I took with me the best, and I left the rest behind. And then I started adding in new skills, new beliefs, new ways of behaving, and a new sense of me; who and how I had decided to BE. And that is the person I have continued to grow into “being” over the years.

This is the journey if you want your life to be different; if you want changes – you need to change. You need to become, need to be the person who can have those changes in an ongoing way. Got it? Great!

So, what’s keeping you stuck?

I hear so many people say they feel stuck, and then being stuck is seen as the problem instead of what is causing them to feel or be stuck. Stuck is a symptom.

We are as limited as we make up our minds to be. It’s true. I’m not talking about whether or not we can fly like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I am talking about whether or not we can complete a task or get up out of bed and get going for the day or keep our word or plan, schedule and prioritize what needs doing. If you’re feeling stuck, there are solutions for you in this episode.

A recent assignment I gave my students was to post their limiting beliefs, and then come up with counter examples or exceptions to those limiting beliefs. What was clear from their answers was that their limiting beliefs and under- developed EF skills were both holding them back. And since both can be shifted and developed, I was excited that we had teased out some very core issues. By their very nature, beliefs aren’t personal to that person. No matter who has the limiting belief, if they believe they can or believe they can’t – they are right. Beliefs always have an exception; that’s what make them a belief and not fact. Example, if I were to say that I believe that it’s too late for me to gain control of my focus and emotions, and then I asked 100 people if they also believed that it was too late for them to gain control of their focus and emotions, not everyone would agree. If I asked 100 people if the sun rises in the east and sets in the west every day, the answer would be a unanimous yes because this is a fact, not a Belief.

I want to help you move from stuck to unstoppable or even neutral, through the development of your executive function skills because if there was ever a time that you needed these skills, so you can navigate the ever-changing world successfully – now is that time.

If you aren’t yet a member of my Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, I highly recommend you get over there and ask to join. When you do, be sure to answer the few questions asked included the question about the group rules. We have rules so that the group is a safe space, free of judgment, and a place where you can show up and interact with like-minded adults – laugh a little, learn a little and most of all be connected to a positive energy community.

I also go live in that group every 2 weeks and answer questions posed by group members. It’s definitely worth joining us. And, if you want to start developing your Executive Function Skills, I have lots of resources available on my website, including the opportunity for you to get on the Waitlist for the March ADDventures in Achievement open enrollment. There is an email sequence going out now, to everyone on that Waitlist, with information about executive function skills and ways you can start to develop yours. So, join the Facebook group for community and learning and visit my website to get on the Waitlist to learn about upcoming executive function skill development opportunities. You won’t want to miss either opportunity.

For those of you who have been long time listeners, you know I am big on WINS and their importance in your life. There’s another important aspect to focusing on WINS and that is you are training your mind every day to notice what is right with you, right with what you are doing and right in the world – in other words… WINS. And especially during a time in our world history when it would be easy to ignore what’s right or good or amazing – this is exactly what we need to be focusing on to keep the level of positives within us high, so it can offset the high level of negatives that we are bombarded with every day.

Having a WINS mindset will transform how you experience your life, if you let it, even during very challenging times, like now. How you experience your life and the meanings you give the events of your life contribute greatly to the quality of your life. We don’t always have control over the events or experiences; however, we do have control over the meaning we give them.

We know that what you focus on grows and that it’s important to stand guard at the doorway to your mind and not let in things that don’t serve you. So why focus on anything but WINS? That way, you will continue to attract more and more WINS into your life all leading you to the state of mind and life you want.

You are a precious child of God and the universe; and are called a “human being” not a “human doing” for good reason. You don’t have to earn your value; you were born with it. Your value comes from “who” you are; not what you do. And if you need a place to know that is true, be sure to join the Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, so you can be with others who will celebrate yours WINS with you and affirm that you are more than okay as you, the “human being.”

So, what’s it going to be for you today? If you got up today with specific intentions for your day and followed through on all of them, that’s an awesome WIN. If you decided to de-clutter and organize one small area of your living space and then maintain that space, that’s a great WIN. And if you’ve decided to develop a loving relationship with yourself, and actually receive the love and compassion you offer yourself, that’s a huge WIN. You get the point; celebrate all of them. And none of this “half-hearted celebrating”; you’ve got to mean it. Exaggerate your emotions. YES!!! WOW!!! AWESOME!!! Be sure to celebrate your WINS – big and small – because celebrating daily builds consistency and makes a faster difference in your life.

How much time do we have? Not much. So, let’s get to it.

Middle VO here.

Many of you have taken on your limiting beliefs as a result of your past experiences and what others have repeatedly said to you about you.

Let’s look at 7 common limiting beliefs and how you can start to bust them:
I can’t ever complete tasks
I don’t have enough time
I will always live a life of chaos and clutter
This is as good as life is going to get
I don’t know myself or what I want
Things aren’t going to work out for me; they never do
I break my promises to myself and others all the time

The first thing to understand about all 7 of these statements is that they are literally instructions to your mind, telling you what your life is going to be, and then you just follow those instructions and that is what your life is. You have literally programmed your mind to give you that life. And it’s not even the life you really want! Remember, the programming of your mind isn’t personal – if you say it’s true for you, then it’s true for you – even if it’s not true for 100’s of other People.

So, let’s get to belief busting!

Busting the first belief – I can’t ever complete tasks. The word “ever” is often used as it is in this case, implying that there are no exceptions. Get curious and think of a time in your life where you did complete a task; any task - where this belief wasn’t true.

For example, you completed the task of brushing your teeth or getting dressed or putting gasoline in your vehicle. If you have completed these tasks, then the belief “I can’t ever complete tasks” isn’t true. And then you go deeper, looking at how you have been able to complete the tasks that you have completed. Perhaps it’s because you knew exactly what to do when you brushed your teeth or got dressed or put gasoline in your vehicle. And when you don’t complete tasks, it’s because you don’t know exactly what to do with the task – starting, continuing or finishing it up. Once you can see that the belief is false and what’s really true is that when you don’t have all the information you need to start and finish a task, you don’t complete your tasks. Now you have something to work with! You need to get the information you are missing so that you can start and finish your tasks; all of them.

Busting the second belief – I don’t have enough time. The word “enough” is often used as it is in this case, implying that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for you to get things done. Get curious and think about a time when you did have enough time; in fact, plenty of time. What was different about that situation?

For example, you were able to complete all of your tasks and errands for a day and even had time for yourself and others in your life. It was an amazing day and you were so happy that day. Remember that day, and study that day to learn how you were able to have such an amazing day, so you can have more of them.

Busting the third belief – I will always live a life of chaos and clutter. The word “always” implies there are no exceptions, which is not the case. Get curious and think about a time when you lived in peace and were clutter-free; even if it was a brief moment in time. What was different about that situation from how you live now?

For example, you were able to live clutter-free and in peace when you were single and when you got married and had kids, all of that went away and it’s like you never lived any other way except in chaos and clutter. Except that’s not true. Become a student of your own life and look at what changed in you, rather than what changed in your life. How did you start to think in ways that resulted in creating a cluttered and chaotic life for yourself and others? See if you can remember how you used to think when your life was clutter-free and peaceful. Remember, what’s happening in your outside life is the result of what changed on the inside; in you.

Busting the fourth belief – This is as good as life is going to get. To me this implies that this is the very best moment in your life; no better moments have existed. Is this really true or can you think of exceptions where your life was really good as various times in the past; it just hasn’t been that good in a long time.

For example, look back over your life and find moments of happiness or goodness. A birthday party you attended as a child, if you did. A movie you saw that you really enjoyed. A conversation with a friend, perhaps sharing a meal together, where the time just flew by and you were both so connected and happy to be together. Again, these moments or memories may be few and far between, however, when you find even one experience that was good in your past, it means that the belief that this is as good as life is going to get is false.

Busting the fifth belief – I don’t know myself or what I want. You may know what everyone else wants because you have focused on pleasing others and making this your goal. This is part of codependency. And as a result, you end up know lots of things about others and perhaps nothing about yourself – your wants and your needs – perhaps feeling like you are a stranger to yourself.

For example, you could start by making a list of everything that you know isn’t true about you. Use very concrete things like, you are not 6 feet tall (if you aren’t), you are not blonde (if you aren’t). Once you get enough of the things that you aren’t, you will flow into continuing on with those things that you are such as kind, loyal, funny, smart, and so on. Own the good about you because it’s true.

Busting the sixth belief – Things aren’t going to work out for me; they never do. As you look back over your life, I bet you could show me so many of the times that things didn’t work out for you and so you used those times to validate this belief that they never will. However, since there are always exceptions to a belief, I suggest you look back over your life and find those exceptions when things did work out for you, because they are there.

For example, even the things that you might say were bad experiences might have led you to a good outcome which then led you to another good outcome and eventually led you to things working out better for you than you could have imagined. Do you have at least one of those stories and experiences?

Busting the seventh belief – I break my word to myself and others all the time. Again, “all the time” implies that you have never kept your word to yourself or Others.

For example, can you recall a time when you kept your word to yourself and/or to others? Could be you said you would eat and you ate. Could be you said you would sleep and you slept. Could be that you said you would meet a friend for coffee and you showed up relatively on time. All of these are exceptions to the belief that you break your word “all the time.” You would do better to reframe this statement, if you relate to it and say – “I break my word to myself or to others when I am scared to follow through or when I don’t know how to do what I said I would do.” That is a very specific time when you break your word, with the reason identified and therefore it can be worked on and resolved. The global statement of breaking your word “all the time” isn’t true because there are exceptions and leaves you with nothing specific to work on that’s the real issue. The reason I’m talking about limiting beliefs is because you can run your life into the ground if you don’t shift them into beliefs that support you.

How many of these limiting beliefs do you relate to? Probably lots of them. And what are those limiting beliefs costing you? Are they stopping you from making new friends? Pursuing a new career? Moving to a new location? Getting the help and support you need for yourself?

Remember, these limiting beliefs always have exceptions to them; we just need to look. And just because you have been indoctrinated with these beliefs and lived with them for your entire lifetime doesn’t mean that you need to keep them, if you agree that they no longer serve you, and are in fact hurting you.

Remember what Gandhi said:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits . Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Are your beliefs leading you to the destiny that is best for you? If not, is today the day you bust your limiting beliefs and choose new empowering beliefs that are in line with your heartfelt destiny?

Are you going to commit to transforming one limiting belief every day or week or month starting today so that your life starts to get better for you with each limiting belief you shed and replace with an empowering one?

And who will you be without those limiting beliefs? If you’ve lived with them for so long, you might feel a loyalty to them and feel strange about the idea of releasing them or transforming them into empowering beliefs. If this is your experience, consider what it’s doing for you to keep your limiting beliefs? Is it validating your belief that you are a victim or another limiting belief that I didn’t mention in today’s episode?

I want you all to know that there is real hope for resolving the challenges you are experiencing with limiting beliefs and under-developed Executive Function skills.

The widespread needless suffering of millions of adults around the world has to stop, and I am doing what I can to stop it with this generation; with us. We all need to address our limiting beliefs and under-developed Executive Function skills if we want to live the life that is possible for us with those changes. We have to be the person who lives the life we say we want; not struggle to live the life we say we want so we can become the person someday who has that life.

We all need empowering beliefs and well-developed Executive Function skills to thrive as adults in today’s world. If we can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm and analysis paralysis so we can more easily make good decisions and know they are good decisions, it’s going to cost us dearly.

Slow down and become a student of your own life. Understand what you need to succeed with the multi-faceted brain you have. Take action on what you learn about yourself. This is the lifework that lies ahead for you if this is your time.

You came to this lifetime with an empowering gift, and I would love it if each and every person on this planet were able to express his or her unique, empowering gifts freely, without the threat of being shamed or criticized. Let’s put an end to that stigma once and for all.

A Favorite Quote: John Wooden said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

What this quote says to me is that there is always something that I can do in any situation. And because I am 100% responsible, 100% of the time for the outcomes in my life, it’s up to me to do what I can do. So, I ask myself is “how can I” and do It.

Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes or live videos or working with me directly, you are in my world and I’m here to serve your needs. So be sure to reach out and get your needs met. It’s up to you to take action so things can change for the better for you. And they can only change for the better for you if you change.

Make it a priority to join the Facebook group – Living Beyond ADHD – so you can have a non-judgment community to lean into. And put yourself on the Waitlist for the ADDventures in Achievement program that is opening up again in March, so you receive the email sequence that has already started going out and educating about Executive Function skills and what lies in store for you.

If you enjoyed today’s episode or any of the other episodes, please share this podcast show with others. I would also be grateful if you’d rate the show and write a positive or inspiring review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. It means a lot to me to know your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together.

Be sure to check out the show notes for the many opportunities available to you as well as ways we can work together and stop your needless suffering. You will find solutions to the challenges you are experiencing, and I would love to help you realize a new freedom, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…



Resources referred to in this episode:
Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd

AIA Executive Function Foundational Skills Program & Waitlist:
https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA

Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back:
https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function

 

 


Episode Resources:


To Help The Show:

Subscribe at your favorite listening spot and my podcast player has social media links (icons) in the episode player so you can share episodes you love with others! 

Please rate the show and leave a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know you're benefiting from the episodes.  The greater the number of reviews, the higher the ranking, and the easier it will be for others to find the show; people who also need this information.  

Let's put an end to the worldwide needless suffering together!  We can do this!