Contrition does not matter if I do not have compunction and change the way I respond to others.
In a lot of ways, ADHD does not negatively affect my life. That is, until I speak before I have time to think through the consequences of my words. It is not only my words, my face is unusually expressive, and my voice tends to be more forceful than I probably intended (sorry, I don’t hear very well.)
Obviously, if I think back on my actions later, I might feel a pang of regret. If I am lucky, I realize I was rude, sincerely apologize, and make an effort to make amends.
The real issue is when I justify my impulsive initial reaction. I find it interesting how easy it is to condone my own thoughtless behaviors by simply saying I did not mean for it to be interpreted however it was received. I did not want to hurt their feelings. Therefore, I am absolved of all guilt. After all, it’s not my fault they were upset. They should have known my intentions.
This is simply not acceptable. I should hold myself to a higher standard, and act with purpose instead of coasting through life, and anticipating most will disregard my spontaneous outbursts.
As I get older, I am more cognizant of the negative consequences of unintentional churlish interactions.
Sometimes, I pick on people. Not meaning to be cruel, it is just a way for me to show affection. If I have paid enough attention to you for me to observe your idiosyncrasies, then I must like you! I thought it was forgivable if I just laughed and insisted it was a joke. Well, jokes should bring joy, not pain.
So, perhaps the best lesson I have learned, is to act instead of react. I am going to take a moment to evaluate whether my thoughts on the subject add anything to the conversation, if my words are appropriate for the situation, and ensure the tone of my voice conveys my intent.
It can’t be that difficult to just not be a jerk. It is not fair to insist everyone forgive my self-centeredness.
*I am not always so careless, I just forget that other people can hear my thoughts if I say them out loud. How cool would it be if we had soliloquies, and complete control over whether or not other people actually heard the ideas that managed to escape our mouths? Perhaps we could be on a 10 second delay, and there would be a magic censor who could beep out inappropriate comments.
– Or, we can just act like grownups and be polite.
One more thing: I firmly believe people never hear what is actually said. They hear a few words get distracted, and fill in the rest based on their personal frame of mind at that moment.
It’s no wonder people get their feelings hurt, they don’t listen! See what I did there? I shifted the blame, to assuage my remorse.
I rarely mean to offend, sometimes I just forget that words have a real impact on people. The children’s rhyme is wrong: Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can wound indefinitely.
It is difficult to admit I have asshole tendencies. It is embarrassing. So, perhaps the best thing… is to just be quiet.