What makes your life worth living?
This is the first post in a series of three, about Building a Life Worth Living in DBT
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has a catchphrase: “Building Lives Worth Living.”
This phrase is used because some people come to DBT at the end of their rope, struggling with thoughts of ending it all.
Other people come to DBT grappling with behaviors that also leave them at the end of their rope, fed up and demoralized.
Behaviors such as:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders
- Self-harm, such as cutting, burning or skin picking
- Compulsive sexual behavior
- Regular relationship blow-ups
- Problems expressing anger
And almost everyone who comes to DBT grapples with some degree of:
- Feeling not ok
- Confused about who they are
- Feeling empty
- Fear of being abandoned
If you relate to any of the above and part of you – or all of you – is SICK OF IT, it’s imperative that you figure out what makes your life worth living, fully and wholeheartedly. Not half-heartedly, numbing out with compulsive behaviors, careening from one crisis to the next and feeling bad about yourself.
To figure out what makes your life worth living, you have to be able to DREAM
Why you need to dream
It gives you hope
Some people know exactly what they want to change when they start therapy.
Yet for others, dreaming of a different life is harder (but can be done with the help of your DBT therapist).
Often people come to DBT with previous attempts at therapy that haven’t been effective.
Or they’ve tried to change on their own, and the changes haven’t stuck.
Falling down over and over feels awful.
Saying your dreams out loud, and then writing them down, will provide some much-needed hope.
Hope that things can change.
Hope that you can feel better.
Hope that you are NOT hopeless.
It keeps you going when you want to give up
Therapy is sometimes rocky work – it will challenge you at your core, try your patience (change is slow) and at times be downright scary (because change is also scary).
Remembering what you’re working towards; your goals and your DREAMS will keep you moving forward when you want to run away.
It helps you and your therapist know what to prioritize
If you’re struggling with trying to change multiple things at the same time, getting clear about your dreams will help you and your therapist know what to focus on first.
The thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that are most interfering with creating the life you want will get top priority. This will help reduce overwhelm and assure you that you’re moving towards making your dreams a reality.
So, the first step in DBT is to dream
Sounds easy, right?
But here’s the catch.
For a lot of people starting DBT, when their therapist asks them what their goals are for therapy (another way of asking “What are your dreams?”), it’s not so easy to answer.
It can stir up a lot of uncomfortable feelings.
For why this brings up a lot of feelings, read:
The second part of this series: Why it’s hard to dream: Building a life worth living in DBT (Part 2)
and then read – How to begin dreaming: Building a life worth living in DBT (Part 3)