By William Schroeder, LPC
Isn’t it intriguing how life’s little moments can teach us some profound lessons? Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of inspiring someone with ADHD. And, trust me, the manner in which I did so wasn’t as you’d expect.
One might think that I shared a brilliant strategy to help them handle their ADHD symptoms. Perhaps something related to strengthening executive function or a discussion about medication. However, that wasn’t the case. What sparked that twinkle of inspiration in their eyes was, of all things, a tale of my own blunder.
Picture this: My wife and I, neck-deep in the chaos of moving houses. As we meticulously packed our belongings, we methodically sorted boxes into designated zones. With the hum of a gripping audiobook playing in the background, I found myself engrossed in its captivating narrative. Amidst this distraction, I mistakenly scooped up a box filled with items that were not meant to be given away. And what, you ask, did this forbidden box contain? A collection of my wife’s cherished purses. With a blissful ignorance, I marched straight to Goodwill and donated them.
Let me fast forward a bit to tell you that there is still a Mrs. Schroeder and it’s not my mom or my ex-wife. We worked through this problem together and thankfully this was immediately noticed and we were able to retrieve all but one of the purses (they apparently move fast at Goodwill prices). While the initial shock of my oversight did induce a minor heart attack (understandably), the story has a relatively happy ending.
The point of this narrative wasn’t to boast of my absent-mindedness but rather to emphasize the power of vulnerability. In sharing my faux pas, the individual with ADHD felt an unspoken camaraderie. They saw a reflection of their own struggles and errors, realizing that such lapses aren’t exclusive to those with ADHD. Mistakes are a shared human experience.
So, what did I glean from this oversight? The invaluable lesson that when you make a mistake, you should embrace it wholeheartedly. I won’t deny the challenge of it, but recognizing an error and working to repair a rupture is pivotal in rebuilding trust. Once the immediacy of the situation is addressed, it’s worthwhile to collaboratively reflect on how to avert similar lapses in the future. I should also say that it helps to not hold mistakes that either person makes over their head like a scorecard. Why? This never allows you to repair trust and it decreases vulnerability in relationships.
It’s essential to remember that it’s not the impeccable advice or expertise that always makes a difference. Sometimes, it’s the raw, genuine stories of our own shortcomings that connect and inspire others the most.