I’ve been taking a DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) class. I started in October and will not be done until mid-December. 10 weeks talking about how to do the stuff that allegedly comes naturally to “normal” people:
- how to smile like the Mona Lisa and why you should
- how to breathe and relax to take care of yourself
- how to balance thought and emotion
- how to determine your needs, wants, values, etc. through a mental/emotional inventory and pro/con lists
- how to deal with stress, crisis, and pain through “radical acceptance”
- how to communicate effectively by listening, clarifying, and thinking through what you want to say before you say it.
- how to maintain relationships, and not allow the “little things” to destroy you
- how to be confident, assertive, and true to yourself (without being a bitch)
It’s twenty hours of my life I’ll never get back. It’s twenty hours of my life that keeps me out of the hospital. It’s twenty hours of my life that have kept me focused on growing emotionally and mentally. It’s twenty hours of my life that make me look at that list above and become really frustrated.
I’m frustrated that I’m not “normal” already. I’m frustrated that people can’t see the growth in me already. I’m frustrated that I live in a black and white world that creates the separation in my mind, when I want to live in a world full of color and depth.
Dialectics are all about the opposites in life (good/bad, thought/emotion, talking/listening, needs/wants, truth/lies, fantasy/reality, etc.). This therapy is about learning to see the shades of gray (and the colors, hues, and tints as well), to find the common ground and the balance of the two. Admittedly, balance is not my strong suit, but I’m learning; I am not the same person I was a year ago (or even a month ago). It’s a long hard road for me, but I see my destination and it’s beautiful.
Personally, I think the world would be a better place if *everyone* would learn these skills.