People mean well, don’t they? I mean, usually.
Oh yeah, sure, there are hate mongers out there.
But even when they are spreading lies, or terrorizing people or attacking their fellow human beings, it’s because they have decided that their beliefs; political, religious, or whatever, are more important than the other person’s freedom, or their right to choose, or even their lives.
In their mind, they’ve justified what they are doing.
“They’re wrong. We are right? I mean, come on, am I right, or what?”
So I get that everyone thinks they are doing the right thing.
And if, perhaps they are willing to admit that what they aren’t doing isn’t exactly honorable, or worse, that they are doing something kind of nasty, or even openly wrong, they find a way to justify it.
“Everyone else is doing it.”
“I need to pass this course.”
“We must do this. For God and Country.”
“Look, we have to make sure we meet our stock dividends this quarter.”
“Yeah, sure, bullying is bad, but I’m not really bullying, and besides, that kid is realllllly annoying.”
“I’m just worried that you’re using this ADHD stuff as an excuse.”
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!
This is actually an important thing to get. Everyone is doing what they think is the right thing.
Or, okay, the least awful thing. As in, “Hey, I don’t want to cheat people, but if I tell people about the problem with the sewage, no one will ever buy this house. Besides, it’s their fault for not getting an inspection.”
I mention this because one of the things I hear very often from people, including myself now and then, is, “I can’t believe they said that about ADHD?”
Or, “Why would anyone say something that ignorant and hurtful?”
Or, “What was Miley Cyrus thinking?”
In other words, “How crazy are they?! That is just so wrong!!!”
But I repeat, EVERYONE IS DOING WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT.
We are all doing the best we know how, based on what we know. Or on what you believe.
So if you believe that ADHD is made up and the medications are dangerous and in the good old days kids just got a smack on the head and that was that…
Well, then you’re going to say things that other people might find hurtful, cruel, or pig-ignorant.
WE’RE ENTERING MATRIX TERRITORY
We all believe we are right. Right? The problem is, if you agree that there are two options, being right or being wrong, it’s complicated.
After all, I never got more than about 90% of my answers right on a test in school.
The odds that I’m going to be 100% right about everything I think and do, now that I’m not getting marked for it… Awkward, right?
I mean, I have ample proof that I haven’t been right about choices I’ve made way more often than I’ve been right.
If there are only two choices, RIGHT or WRONG on average, you can only be right 50% of the time. Maybe 80% if you’re a genius. Not being a genius, I’m well aware I’m lucky if I bat 20%.
However, I bring you good news. There aren’t two choices. It’s never just RIGHT or WRONG.
In fact, I’m going to suggest there are as many ‘right answers’ as there are people on the planet.
Sounds crazy, right?
You may be thinking, “What? Okay, that’s wrong. He’s wrong!” And you may already have 150 objections and arguments to prove I’m insane and you’re right.
Can you put that list on hold for a minute?
Try listening for something else. A bigger perspective. Something that’s almost, well, kind of funny. Something liberating.
WHEN IS A CHAIR NOT A CHAIR? ALWAYS.
But be warned, this may be really hard for you to accept. It was for me.
But if you have to courage to try it on, as an idea to consider, it may actually give you a great deal of power in dealing with people who appear to be crazy, or drive you crazy, because they believe in something other than what you believe. It did for me.
Here it is: There are no right answers. Or wrong answers.
It all depends. All of it.
“Woah, Rick, are you saying that this is NOT a chair that I’m sitting on? Because I believe it’s a chair! So does everyone else in my office.”
“Well, to you it’s a chair. To a Berliner it’s a Sessel. To an antique dealer it’s a1920’s Mission-Style, Ebony Oak Ladder Back seat.
To someone else it’s an investment. To an Amazon tribesman it’s potential kindling. To a cat it’s a napping spot. For a house painter it’s a step to reach the top of the wall…”
But okay, I know, I’m not blogging about the question of whether that’s a chairs. I’m talking about the stuff that upsets you. The stuff that has you screaming, “What are they talking about? How dare they say that in front of my kid?!”
For example, “My mom is such a nag.” That’s a popular one.
Is it true?
You could argue, “My mom is a nag.” Or you could admit, “My mom worries a lot about me.” Or you could say, “My mom is lonely now that my father is gone I am all she has.”
Or, “My mom just wants me to be happy, and if I wasn’t so defensive, she’d might actually have some good advice.” Or, “I can’t stand when my mom tells me stuff I should be doing.”
Or, “I just noticed I go nuts over stuff my mom says because part of me believes she might be right. She’s actually expressed a fear I have.” Or… well, make up your own story.
In fact, you will.
THIS COULD GET AWKWARD
If you are a teenager, (or you have been a teenager at some point,) you know how teens feel about their parents. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Dismissive of them. “My mom is such a nag.” Or whatever.
But then your friends would meet your folks and say, “Gee, they seem okay.”
And you had to explain that, “Sure, they seeeeeem nice, but that’s a big act. I mean, did you hear her telling us to not to have an accident?” And your friends would look at you, ‘Well, you just got your licence…’
If you are past your teen years, perhaps to the point where you have teens of your own, at some point you may find yourself telling them to take care, drive safely, and don’t have an accide…
“Oh my God! I’m turning into my parents.” Delivered in a tone that says, “I’m a monster! A horrible monster!”
If you’re lucky, at some point you’ll actually realize that you’re telling your teenager, “Don’t have an accident!” because you had an accident not long after you got your license.
If you are open to seeing a better explanation than, “I’m turning into my mom,” perhaps something like, “I love my kids more than anything,” well, then eventually you may come to a different belief about your own parents. Something way better than, “What a nag!”
Perhaps something that makes you grateful, like, “My folks did the best they knew how. I mean, the stuff they went through, it’s amazing. But they always wanted the best for me.”
And if you’re extremely lucky, you’ll actually be able to tell your parents that.
Because you know that if one of your own kids said that to you, it would mean the world.
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