The sixteenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes says to treat others with the same dignity with which you would want to be treated. Hobbes puts his own spin on the golden rule: "Do not that to another which you would not have done to yourself" (Hobbes, 1939, 172). In disrespecting others by damning them, you endanger your own peace and security because they are likely to do the same--or worse--back. Albert Ellis agrees: "You do not want to be condemned, damned, or ostracized by people, therefore you unconditionally accept them" (Ellis, 2001, 30). Movements of the spirit that enable us to experience more of God's grace and love and enable us to become more of the person God wants us to be are "consolations." Consolations represent the loving counsel of the Holy Spirit that draws us into deeper communion with God and helps us make choices that are consistent with becoming the whole, healed, godly, grace-filled person we are meant to be. Emotionally you drive yourself into fear , anxiety, and panic. You are caught between feeling totally stressed or shutting down to your overwhelming feelings. The insufficiency, emptiness, and deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, fear, and loneliness, which are rooted deeply in your self-concept, are satiated and validated every time this nasty mechanism clicks into gear. It is as if the reaction of your cruelty toward yourself is an appropriate response to what you were repeatedly told in childhood. The self-punishment is seen as a kind of atonement of the "wrongdoing" that you have perpetrated. Taking yourself to task is supposed to force you to behave properly in the future. This backfires, since the volume of the negativity only reinforces the pattern. Volume is the key. The louder the voice, the deeper the reinforcement. To develop courage, Buddha says, let go of your expectations about others. According to Buddhism, suffering stems from clinging to what is not in your control--and clearly the performance of others is one such thing. Courage here prescribes letting go of your perfectionistic expectations of others and letting things happen as they do, not as you think they must (Hanh, 2011). To develop temperance, Epictetus says to own your emotions--do not speak as though life events are upsetting you when what's really upsetting you is the language you're using to refer to these events (Epictetus, 1948). Instead of saying, "You're an incompetent jerk!" try, "Too bad you're not doing as well as I hoped you'd do." And instead of saying, "Your incompetence is causing me nothing but grief!" fess up to the fact that you're causing your own grief! What is your code of ethics?

You determined your code of ethics. Notice that we discuss ethics every day in the form of complaining of other people's behavior around the subjects of driving, money, politics, and especially romantic relationships. But we often do not look at our own actions and impact on others. With a tone of friendship, share your code with your family. Create a dialogue around ethics and ask to know the ethics of those closest to you. Not in a challenging way, this is not meant to be a forum for debate. Instead, ask about ethics with the understanding that it is intimate knowledge, so be especially polite and sensitive when discussing them--including ethics with which you disagree. Challenge your own code so that you go to a deeper level. Explore ethics together, such as, if you believe in nonviolence, do you hold to it under any and all circumstances? Most people don't; their ethic of nonviolence is conditional, and this is absolutely normal. What is important is that you become clear about the conditions and nuances of your ethics to become even more knowledgeable of yourself. Some people with ADD don't know they have it, some won't acknowledge it, and some won't or can't get help with it. Some are very successful in spite of it; think of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko's, who labels himself "a hyperactive dyslexic". Daydreaming about "what if?" is a fruitless exercise. Some of us with ADD spend a fair amount of time daydreaming. I started school early and matured late. I often wonder how I would have done athletically if I'd been with kids my own age. I was in my own age group once at summer camp and did well. But if I'd been in the appropriate grade - the grade behind me - I never would have married my wife and those grandkids would not exist. So I'm lucky it was as it was.

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I'd had received some help with the ADD. No one knew about ADD back then, so that wasn't going to happen. But could someone just have noticed I was having trouble, without having to make a diagnosis? Two teachers tried to help with my handwriting, but that was it. So sometimes I wonder, but that's a waste of time. Still, I'm sensitive now to people who need help and don't get it. Sartre says, to stop deceiving yourself and be authentic, ponder that "the man who hides behind his passions is deceiving himself," because "man is responsible for his passions" (Sartre, 1989). So you are simply lying to yourself when you tell yourself that others, not you, are pissing you off. The best proof that you can control your emotions is to simply do it: stop deceiving yourself, and be authentic. If you are lying to yourself, chances are you are not being honest with others, either. Sartre would say if you have something constructive to say, stop playing games and say it, then move on: "I think you could have landed that potential client if you spoke less and listened more attentively to what the client wanted to achieve in signing on with us." That really is the question. Are you willing to start feeling?" I'm talking about a way of life that is committed to experiencing, communicating, and expressing your feelings. Specifically, it means being painfully honest, not brutally honest. It means honoring your own reality. By contrast, desolations represent the counsel of an evil spirit attempting to pull us away from God or throwing up roadblocks to us cooperating with God's grace to become the whole, healed, godly, grace-filled people we are meant to be. School systems sometimes seem to just be going through the motions. Today schools "teach to the tests" to protect the teachers and the systems, rather than trying to give the children an education. I'm not a fan of "No Child Left Behind", which really means "No Rich Child Left Behind". It makes things worse rather than better. (Sorry for the political insert.) We now have the knowledge to diagnose and help kids who have ADD/ADHD, if we have the will.

That would, in many ways, make things better when these kids become adults. It is important to note that there's a difference between consolation/desolation and our emotions. Our emotions can offer us important clues as to what's going on in our souls, but they do not determine our spiritual reality. For instance, feeling anxious does not necessarily mean I am far away from God. In fact, in certain instances anxious feelings, though unpleasant, could be consolations, because they are pointing me back toward God and away from some evil that's keeping me from him. At the same time, feeling great could be a desolation because I'm stuck in some sinful habit that's drawing me away from God, but I'm not motivated to change that habit and start moving toward God again because I feel good. It's important to be tuned in to the promptings we receive so that we can respond in a way that will ultimately bring us peace. Psychologically we all require attention. Whether you are the star of the class, the math nerd, the athletic jock, or the computer geek, we all find a way to get the attention we require. In your childhood, if you couldn't receive positive attention you unconsciously and automatically gravitated to negative attention. As an adult you are still locked into the behavior of gravitating to negative reinforcement because it has been imprinted and reinforced over decades. The preoccupation with the self, the feeling of self-importance, and the huge amount of attention (albeit negative) that you receive creates a state, which feels like your personal soap opera, and you become the star of your movie! If you knew that you would be deceased fifteen minutes from now, what would you regret not having done in your life? You have listed your regrets. This is a most surprising list for some of us. As I have mentioned before, people near death are not focused on what they have done but on what they did not do, on opportunities for happiness and fulfillment that were squandered. These are things that truly haunt us as we face the end of our mortal life. So, this list of regrets based on a hypothetical imminent death is to become your high-priority to-do list. Because it is unlikely that you will be dead in fifteen minutes, you still potentially have an opportunity to change the course of your life. Look carefully at your list; some opportunities have come and gone forever, but many are still possible.

This list of missed opportunities is a way of reverse-engineering your priorities. It identifies the most important actions you can take to bring more happiness and meaning into your life. Waste no time--make certain that the things on this list are crossed off as you fulfill each of them. Let us all leave this world with as few regrets as humanly possible. We know a lot more about ADD now. There are very effective ways to help kids with ADD and there are good approaches for adults too. I hope things are better in the schools now. But I keep reading about budget cuts: no nurses, no counselors, no art, no physical education, and maybe no help for the children? Maybe not even evaluations any more? I hope I'm wrong. ADD/ADHD are childhood problems. They do not begin in adults, they just sometimes carry over into adulthood. The kids need help. If people had to live up to your perfectionistic standards to be worthy of respect, then even the people you admire most, not to mention yourself, would rarely, if ever, be worthy of respect. Upsetting yourself over others' "imperfect" performances creates stress for yourself and others without serving any useful purpose. Your emotions don't just happen to you, like bolts of lightning striking you. You tend to have considerable control over them. Tuning in to consolation and desolation allows us to recognize where our thoughts are coming from. We often take our thoughts for granted as coming just from ourselves, but this is very often not true. It's important to recognize when the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something -- and also when an evil spirit is whispering lies in our spiritual ear.