One of My Favorite Skills

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A few years ago, when I was enrolled in classes intensively studying Dialectical Behavior Therapy, I learned a skill that became one of my very favorites. I put together an iTunes playlist soon after I enrolled in those DBT classes and this one skill seemed to be the easiest skill to find represented in the songs I had in my iTunes library at the time. Later, I found the coloring page above and used colored pencils to add vibrant colors to the page so I could have a bright reminder for using this skill. The DBT skill essentially taught me to do what the picture above is recommending.

Stand tall when you feel small. Or another way of saying it is, fake it until you make it. The specific instructions in Dialectical Behavior Therapy involved doing something that elicits the opposite emotion to what emotion you’re currently feeling. So, if you feel like going back to bed and hiding under the covers all day, instead get up and do something productive! I use this skill regularly. I love that if I’m starting to feel irritated and I don’t feel like doing something that’s good for me, I can use this skill to drastically change my mood.

You don’t have to have studied Dialectical Behavior Therapy to benefit from doing this to help you get yourself out of a mood rut. I have found that it’s helpful when interacting with my small daughter to recommend to her when she’s feeling gloomy that she do something different that she enjoys and she’ll feel less gloomy. It works!

I feel so grateful to have skills to help me manage my moods. I don’t often have mood fluctuations these days, and it’s so nice to have skills like this in my self-care repertoire. Try it. Stand tall when you’re feeling small!

Accepting myself unconditionally isn’t selfish after all!

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What you see above is one of the first pictures I colored in an adult coloring book. I colored that picture with colored pencils in an effort to give myself some compassion. At the time I have to admit that it didn’t really work. I didn’t believe those words. I did like the colors I chose to use. Colors are pretty.

For many years I had a really hard time feeling like being kind to myself, and doing self-care, were selfish choices to make. I think that’s an easy trap to fall into when you don’t always feel confident, and you’re not always overflowing with healthy self-esteem and self-worth. However, after spending a few years intensively studying Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and taking the time to learn a variety of meditation techniques, I realized that I can make a different choice from thinking that way.

One of the guided mediations I have been using almost daily since early 2015 is where I first heard an explanation that I could get on board with of why doing self-care and giving myself compassion are not selfish acts. In that meditation the soothing and calming voice leading the meditation explained to me that when I take the time to do activities that are helping me feel good about myself, or helping me feel better for my basic physical health, that’s not selfish because it’s helping me become the best version of myself.

That soothing and calming meditation guide went on to explain that being the best version of myself is an important thing to become because how I am when I interact with others makes a difference in how those interactions play out. The meditation guide described this as a gift I’m giving to myself, and that it is also a gift I’m also giving to every single person who I come in contact with in any way. That clicked.

I don’t want to be that person who yells at customer service people on the phone, or who lashes out at cashiers in stores. I want to treat everyone the way I want to be treated. Including myself. So, now, several years after I colored that picture you see above, now it’s finally working as a great reminder.

Accepting myself unconditionally isn’t easy to do. Encouraging myself and doing what I need to in order to be as healthy as I can be; these are choices I have to make fresh again every single morning. But, you know what? In the end, making those choices IS worth it, because I’m worth it.

And you know what else? You’re worth it too. Yes, you. That’s right. I’m talking to the person who is reading this post right now. You too are worthy of giving yourself compassion and doing whatever self-care you need to become your best self. I know this may not be easy to believe right now, but I’m pretty sure that if I was able to get around to believing it, then you can too. I know it’s not easy though, and it very well may take a while, so I’ll leave this post here as a gentle reminder to you, and also as a reminder to myself.

I know there will probably be days when I’ll have go back to having trouble believing this stuff. So, with any luck, having this post here will remind me on the difficult days why I’m doing this work on myself.

I’m committed to accepting myself unconditionally today. Today is all I have to focus on right now. Tomorrow will be another new chance to try again.

 

 

 

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