We practice making choices often. Decisions such as what we wear, what we eat, and when we go to sleep occur daily. Other choices like where we live, how to proceed with medical care, and what to do about a difficult relationship may not present as frequently and are ordinary to the human experience. Regardless of how rare, common, complex, or simple the decision we have to make is, we utilize the same skills in each situation.
Our emotions, thoughts, and personal intuitions are central in moments of choice. DBT encourages us to hold the functions of emotions at the forefront of our mind when using our skills. Mindfulness helps us understand the usefulness of our thoughts and affords us the opportunity to decide whether or not a thought is effective. Our “gut” feelings can be a function of Wise Mind. The tools we use to make choices come from within us even when we seek wisdom outside of us.
We are faced with a dilemma when we feel stuck and invalidated by the choices in front of us. Think about a time when you might have really wanted something only to find out it was not available anymore. Or perhaps you presented an option and someone said “no” in the face of your vulnerability. Left feeling rejected, anxious, misunderstood, alone, and angry, we are more likely to engage in self destructive habits and make the situation worse.
While Radical Acceptance, willingness to tolerate grief, and distraction are skills we can choose when the urge for self destruction strikes, we feel our attention being turned to a crucial moment in this scenario: feeling stuck in the absence of choice.
Having access to a diverse range of solutions in the face of a problem greatly supports our ability to function from a Wise Mind. When choices are reflective of our personal Wisdom, we feel a sense of mastery, competence, and value. How do your Wise Mind choices impact how you value yourself? When you value yourself, how do you feel about others? What do you notice about the quality of your attention when you are in your Wise Mind?
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