ADHD Adult ADD/ADHD How Adults With ADHD Can Boost Their Confidence and Self-Esteem By Jacqueline Sinfield Jacqueline Sinfield Facebook Twitter Jacqueline Sinfield is an ADHD coach, and the author of "Untapped Brilliance, How to Reach Your Full Potential As An Adult With ADHD." Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 26, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Westend61 / Getty Images Self-esteem is how you view yourself. It’s your personal evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. People who have healthy self-esteem can appreciate their strengths and be compassionate for any limitations they have. They value themselves and expect others to treat them with respect. Why Do People With ADHD Have Low Self-Esteem? ADHD symptoms, such as low concentration, forgetfulness, and the need for immediate gratification, results in people with ADHD having many negative experiences and life events. For example, they may experience academic underachievement, problems in the workplace, or social problems such as making and keeping friends and romantic relationships. These disappointing experiences and failures impact their self-esteem. ADHD Symptom Spotlight: Perfectionism Tips for Increasing Your Self-Esteem When You Have ADHD You can do lots to increase your self-esteem, and best of all, it is all under your control. You don’t need to rely on other people. Believe in Yourself Repeated negative experiences and failures affect your self-esteem. This leads you to doubt your abilities and talents. To break the cycle and start improving your self-esteem, it is important to start believing in yourself. Believing in yourself might sound cliché, but if you can start to trust your strengths and talents, it is a great first step to improving your self-esteem. Research has found that people with ADHD can be highly resilient and may be able to adapt constantly, so no matter what your history is, change is possible. Focus on Your Strengths We are all born with unique talents and strengths. What are yours? if you aren’t sure, over the next week notice what tasks and activities are easy for you. Which ones do you enjoy doing, and which ones do you get compliments on? These are all clues! Spending time noticing these things is a fast track to improving your self-esteem. Rather than trying to get good at tasks that are hard for you, spend the majority of your time doing things you are good at. Apply this rule to all areas of your life – work, home, hobbies, etc. Develop Your Skills In addition to focusing on your strengths, there are some basic skills you need to succeed in life and feel good about yourself. These skills might not come naturally to you because of how your ADHD brain works. However, it is possible to get good at them with time. Learn how to be an excellent: Time Manager: Arriving on time makes you feel reliable. Money Manager: Overspending or forgetting to pay your mortgage nibbles away at your self-esteem. Meal Planner: iI's hard to feel your best when you are hungry or eating junk food. Housekeeper: A dirty home full of clutter and funky smells erodes your self-esteem. These tasks may be harder for you because they require skills that ADHD makes challenging. However, it is possible to become good at all of them. Give Yourself Positive Feedback How you were praised and disciplined as a child affects how you saw yourself then and how you view yourself today. Children with ADHD can receive more criticism than praise. As a grown-up, you might focus on all the things you did "wrong" or didn’t do well because that has become your default mode. From now on, for every criticism you give yourself, acknowledge two things that went well. This will help rebalance things which will help improve your self-esteem. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others As a child, you may have been in the habit of comparing yourself to others. Your siblings, friends, and classmates probably could do things you found hard, like pay attention in class or sit still. When you measure yourself unfavorably with others, it lowers your self-esteem, as we rarely make comparisons where we fare better. 2 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Cook J, Knight E, Hume I, Qureshi A. The self-esteem of adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a systematic review of the literature. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2014;6(4):249-68. doi:10.1007/s12402-014-0133-2 Dvorsky MR, Langberg JM. A Review of Factors that Promote Resilience in Youth with ADHD and ADHD Symptoms. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2016;19(4):368-391. doi:10.1007/s10567-016-0216-z Additional Reading Harpin V, et al. Long-Term Outcomes of ADHD: A Systematic Review of Self-Esteem and Social Function. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2016; 20: 295-305. doi:10.1177/1087054713486516 Young S and Brahmam J. Cogntive-Behavioural Therapy For ADHD in Adolescents and Adults: A Psychological Guide to Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012. By Jacqueline Sinfield Jacqueline Sinfield is an ADHD coach, and the author of "Untapped Brilliance, How to Reach Your Full Potential As An Adult With ADHD." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for ADHD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.