How to Cope With a Difficult Dilemma

This is courtesy of DBT and Marsha Linehan

At times we will get caught up in difficult dilemmas: “Do I stay in this job/relationship/house/neighbourhood/marriage/country/career – or not?”

Step 1: Acknowledge there is probably no quick fix.
Step 2: Analyze the costs and benefits.
Step 3: Recognize that there is no perfect solution.
Step 4: There’s no way not to choose.
Step 5: Acknowledge today’s choice.
Step 6: Take a stand.
Step 7: Make time to reflect.
Step 8: Name the story.
Step 9: Practice expansion.
Step 10: Have self-compassion.

Three Possible Outcomes for Your Dilemma

  1. In some cases, over time, one option will start to look obviously better than the other; this will then make you decision easier.
  2. In some cases, over time, one option will no longer be available. This means, the decision is made for you.
  3. In some cases, over time, the dilemma will continue, without any resolution. In these cases keep cycling through the steps above. Practice lots of self-compassion, and mindfully live by your values in the face of this ongoing stress.

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