Book review – a tough life and low dopamine make low self-esteem is fixed part of ADHD

Nathaniel Bradon is a practicing psychologist, in his best-seller he argues that self-esteem is an “indirect result” of what you do. Bradon systematically approaches improving self esteem by concentrating and performing exercises on the “Six Pillars of Self-Esteem”: Living Consciously, Self-Acceptance, Self-Responsibility, Self-Assertiveness, Living Purposefully and Personal Integrity. With ADHD self-esteem is often severely impacted by life experiences “being different” and by a low chemical response to reward – ADHD adults tend to feel less good about themselves due to low dopamine response to our own successes and perfectionist rumination on failures.

The strength of the book is in the sentence-completion exercises which take about fifteen minutes a day (there are year’s worth in the book). These gently bring about positive changes in your thinking and behavior, so you more aware of your values and desires and to be honest with yourself. The self awareness gained can really help you to start aligning your work, personal life and goals with who you really are, your strengths and what your really want. This rings true as a coach, I frequently observe the increased self-esteem that comes post-diagnosis as clients re-frame how they see themselves and their own different ADHD values, to life aligned with their personality. Six pillars has some valuable insights and exercises that can help with this change.