This right here, is the heart of DBT – Dialectics.
Dialectic means that two opposing ideas, thoughts, or opinions can be true at the same time.
And one that many who struggle with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) struggle with. However, it is not exclusive to BPD, and can be felt by anyone, whether they struggle with mental illness or not.
We are black and white thinking society. Even though most things are not merely black and white. They aren’t even necessarily shades of grey, as we like to resolve the black and white conundrum.
Some things might be plaid. Some things might be grey. And some things might be black AND white.
It is a paradox most of us struggle with, accepting that two things that oppose each other can be true at the same time. But it is, in fact, true. You can feel angry and happy. You can feel sad and happy. You can feel love and hate.
A lot of us feel conflicting thought, emotions and beliefs despite logic telling us that can’t be right, or possible. And yet we do. Which leads me, at least, to believe that two opposing things CAN be true at the same time.
- The universe is filled with opposing sides/opposing forces.
– There is always more than one way to see a situation, and more than one way to solve a problem.
– Two things that seem like opposites can both be true.
- Everything and every person is connected in some way.
– The waves and the oceans are one.
- Change is the only constant.
– Meaning and truth evolve over time.
– Each moment is new; reality itself changes with each moment.
- Change is transactional.
– What we do influences our environment and other people in it.
– The environment and other people influence us.
How to Think and Act Dialectically
- There is always more than one side to anything that exists.
– Look for both sides.
– Ask, what am I missing?
– Let go of extremes. Change “either-or” to “both-and,” “always” or “never” to “sometimes”
– Balance opposites.
– Embrace confusion.
– Play the devil’s advocate.
– Use metaphors and storytelling.
- Be aware that you are connected.
– Treat others as you want them to treat you.
– Look for similarities among people instead of differences.
– Notice the physical connections among all things.
- Embrace change.
– Throw yourself into change. Allow it. Embrace it.
– Practice acceptance of change.
– Practice getting used to change.
- Change is transactional: Remember that you affect your environment and your environment affects you.
– Pay attention to your effect on others and how they affect you.
– Practice letting go of blame by looking for how your own and others’ behaviours are caused by many interactions over time.
– Remind yourself that all things, including behaviours, are caused.