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And if we are closely involved with them, it's helpful if they know about and understand our ADD problems, although we need to use some care in who and what we tell. We can let others know what kinds of things are helpful to us and what kinds of things don't work so well with us. Our ADD problems can have a huge effect on our partner and our relationship. Both partners need to work on it. Our partner can be a huge help with the things we have trouble with. We can get some help from others too. Know that quality and equal access to education for all is the bridge that carries a society to the next level of greatness. Get informed, stay connected, and vote in every election, local or national, no matter how small. Your voice and your vote can change the world. Ben delivered his first message in third grade as a child prodigy. He started a weekly home Bible study at age 16, and became a full-time pastor in his senior year of high school. He is always encouraging and inspiring humans from every walk of life to never ever give up because, he says, If you've got a pulse, you've got a purpose. So rejoice. At twenty-eight, Ben believes that rejoicing daily is good for the mind, body and soul. A gifted and nationally renowned speaker, author, and host of a national radio program, his energy, humor, and uplifting style touch the lives of thousands of people as he travels across the world. Learning disabilities are not a basic part of ADD, but many of us with ADD also have learning disabilities. We have trouble remembering things, which is part of the ADD, but learning problems go beyond that. We may have letter or number reversal when we write or type or dial a phone. I have that a lot, so I've made a habit: whenever I write down a phone number I check to see that I have it right. I also check it to see that it's legible, that when I come back to use it I will be able to read what I just wrote.

Actually, that's true for any kind of notes I make. I need to make myself slow down and write them legibly and then check them again to be sure they are legible. Otherwise when I return to my note I'll have. I used to use lots of scraps of paper: "Here, let me just jot that down." Now I keep a steno pad by each of my phones, and I have cards in my pocket. When I get a phone number, or some other important thing to note, I don't put it on some scrap of paper somewhere. And I make sure it's legible. And now I have a long term record of the call or the information. Works a lot better. Some of us have trouble with math. I don't, although in college when I would manage to get the complicated formulas worked out and solve the equation correctly and be just about to get the right answer, I would mess up the simple arithmetic and miss the answer anyway. But that was inattention and rushing and carelessness, pure ADD, not a math disability. Many of us had trouble learning to read. I didn't have that either. But my handwriting has always been terrible. I'd always thought that was due to the way I learned to write. Only after I realized I have ADD did I also realize that my terrible handwriting is mostly due to poor fine motor coordination, made worse by my always being in a hurry. My teachers always told me, "Doug, you have terrible handwriting," and I would say, "I know." They would often mark me off for it. They would tell me I had to improve. Because you define your self-worth in terms of whether you are achieving your goals, your ability to accept yourself is very fragile and conditional. As such, the guiding virtue for overcoming this tendency is unconditional self-acceptance.

So how can you become more unconditionally self-accepting? Freely make plans and act on them: Jean-Paul Sartre reminds us that, unlike mosses or cauliflowers, we are conscious, self-aware beings who have a subjective life and can freely make plans and act on them. An anecdote from Sartre drives home the point: When he was imprisoned, he met a Jesuit priest who had grown up in poverty; was degraded by his schoolmates; had a grievous, failed relationship at eighteen; and failed his military exam. Sartre explains that this man could have regarded himself as a "total failure" but instead took his bad luck as a sign that he was meant for the clergy. "[T]he decision was his and his alone," Sartre declared, for he could just as easily have become a carpenter or revolutionary (Sartre, 1989). Cultivating psychological attachment involves actively recognizing and verbally acknowledging each other's gifts and talents. It demonstrates an eagerness to learn from each other, a willingness to be influenced by each other, and a desire to grow and stretch (in healthy ways) for the sake of each other, even when you might prefer not to. Think of someone you love. What do you admire about them? In what ways do you wish you were more like them? When you see something that interests or amuses you, do you ever think, "So-and-so would LOVE this!" Have you ever struggled with a problem and said to this person, "How would YOU handle thus and such?" These are all examples of the psychological attachment you have with that person. At sixty-five, Deborah has experienced a lot of life: Woodstock and protests in the '60s, burying one husband and divorcing two others, raising sons into amazing fathers and husbands, working for large corporations, starting her own companies, living with people with serious drug addictions; and a host of other life experiences. As she ages, Deborah remembers the contrast between her own mother and aunt as they aged. Her mother's world became bigger. She volunteered and surrounded herself with young people. She traveled whenever and wherever she could. She loved life even as her body started breaking down. Her aunt's world became very small. A widow at a young age who also lost her daughter, she rarely left her apartment and did not make new friends because she was scared of experiencing loss again. Until she passed away in her '90s, her attitude became more bitter with each year.

Only two of them ever made any attempt to help me improve; unfortunately, their attempts weren't very successful. I have recently improved it a little, which amazes me, after over sixty years of illegibility. I discovered that if I slanted the first part of a script " l " (small L) way over to the right, then the second part would cross it and it would wind up looking like an " l " is supposed to look. Wow! Now I say to myself, "l alert", when I see one coming up in a word and I get myself ready to do it right. After that improvement I realized that if I drew the first part of an "e" extending way over to the right, then the "e" would look like an "e". So I started also doing `e alerts'. And my handwriting improved. Then I realized that I didn't have to rush. Just by using these alerts I had slowed down. I also saw that I didn't have to crowd everything in to save paper. Actually, these changes saved time in the long run, since now I or perhaps even somebody else can read what I've written. Right now I'm working on my "r"s, but I don't have those down yet. I'm not yet using the speech recognition computer programs, but those could turn out to be one of the technological blessings for ADD. So it's really your choice if you want to proclaim yourself a failure when you can just as well see not being successful at something in a positive light. After all, you hold the reins over your own subjectivity and can be as creative as you wish. So think twice before you treat yourself like some inert piece of garbage. You've got free will, so use it! I urge you to heed the advice of our sages by treating yourself with the self-respect that you deserve. As you can see, unconditional self-acceptance is not about being perfect or imperfect.

Human nature is imperfect, but you have admirable capacities for reason, self-determination, and subjectivity that ground unconditionally treating yourself with respect. I asked Angela how she stayed motivated. She replied, Carolyn, I am living a purpose-filled life, and I recognize that who I am today is a result of my aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, and extended family that has helped create the woman I am. This is going to take work--in particular, developing a plan of action for making constructive changes, and then acting on it. So let's get started! Spiritual connection, in the broadest sense, means that you recognize that you and another person share a bigger purpose than just your relationship: a common vision for life, a common set of values, a common cause. Spiritual connection comes from the sense that you and another person (or group of people) were meant to be together, not because of any selfish reasons, but because you can see your relationship making a positive difference in the lives of the people around you and helping you experience more meaning in life. Examples of spiritual connection include the feelings you get when you see that you are raising great kids together, finding ways to share and promote your faith and values, or working together to effect positive changes in your community. Cultivating spiritual connection means looking for ways you and the people you are closest to can make some kind of difference in the world -- together. For Reflection: What is one, simple, concrete thing you could do today to increase your spiritual connection with a person who is important to you? Deborah has consciously chosen to be like her mother. She travels, dances, and makes new friends at a drop of a hat. She keeps working because she loves what she does and volunteers whenever she can. There are simply not enough hours in the day for her to do everything she wants. Now at sixty-five, she is on her own self-care journey. I rejoice in living every day and know that to continue having adventures and satisfying my curiosity, I need to stay as healthy as I can. In high school football I played in the line. I was too small for the line but I had no fine motor coordination. I was small but slow. I couldn't pass nor catch, and so I played in the line.