“(Regret is) driven by a contrast between where we are and where we think we could have been.” -Dan Ariely, who studies irrationality
Let’s say you miss your flight. That’s frustrating, right? But what’s more frustrating? Missing it by 2 minutes, or by two hours?
And who is happier standing on the Olympic podium? The person who got the silver or the person who got the bronze?
Both the person who missed the flight by 2 minutes and the silver medalist are thinking “If only…” and that form of regret is incredibly painful. So painful, in fact, that Ariely’s experiments suggest that people will do almost anything to avoid that feeling again.
Regret also drives anger. But Ariely’s insight may help diminish that. After all, if a non-ADHD wife (for example) regrets she married a woman who is completely disorganized instead of someone who is very neat, it’s possible to reframe this issue with greater acceptance of the disorganized partner’s ADHD symptoms. ‘If I am to be Suzanne’s partner at all, I have to acknowledge that my dream of her being a neat freak wasn’t actually very realistic. I knew that going in, even though I hoped it would improve.” By being realistic, you decrease the distance between where you are, and where you think you could have been.
Are there things you regret where the pain of that regret could be lessened by viewing the situation more realistically?
Melissa will be speaking in LONDON on December 16 on Adult ADHD, Relationships and Families. For info on this free event, go to this link.
American Adults Wanted to Participate in a Brief, Online Mindfulness Study - The intent of this study is to better understand why people may be more or less willing to practice mindfulness. The results will help inform a variety of mindfulness-based treatments, including those for ADHD. Take the study here.
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples courses: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - this eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship. Next course begins January 12, 2016.