Acknowledging, accepting, shifting

In therapy last week, I was struck by how acceptance can work.  Yes, I’ve heard it before, and the concept and practice of radical acceptance has driven me up the wall at times during my time in DBT.

However, I thought about this:

If I am having negative thoughts, and I try to go straight to “think positive” or use an affirmation, I am not necessarily full acknowledging or accepting the negative thought pattern.  I am more pushing it to the side, covering it up, or resisting it.  I cannot flip my thoughts 180 degrees so easily and quickly.  My “I am worthy of loves” or “I am enoughs” can help in the short term, giving me a little push of motivation, something to aspire to be.  However, I may not fully take them in or believe them.

If I don’t accept my negative thought patterns and that they are part of my everyday experience, then it’s extremely difficult for me to move towards more balanced thinking in the long-term.

So first:  accept that I’m having negative thought patterns.  Acknowledge the reality.
Look for myths/beliefs.
Challenge them when they come up.  Check the facts:  what is true, what else could be true?
And through doing this (over and over again), gradually shift…

And dialectically speaking, I don’t have to turn the negative into positive, it’s not about black and white, either/or.  There’s a spectrum of experiences and thought patterns in between.

A tiny shift can allow me to be kinder to myself.  Through acknowledging that I have had unkind thoughts towards myself, I can consciously choose to shift towards kinder ones.  And I can give myself space and time – I have had years of thinking a certain way, and every step counts.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Yes, every step counts – and no matter how many you have to take – it is progress. Great post – hope your day is happy! 🙂

    Reply

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