by Nataleigh Kohn, LMSW
Early this summer, I moved out of the city and into the countryside. This move brought on many changes across essentially every aspect of life, as you can probably imagine. However, one change in particular stands out, and brings to mind a favorite DBT skill: I had to learn to drive. Learning to drive (skillfully and safely) was, for me, an incredible challenge in the art of Building Mastery.
Building Mastery is a skill from our Emotion Regulation module. To build mastery, we set out to purposefully do things that make us feel proud or accomplished, such as acquiring and mastering a new skill. Completing a challenge or becoming an expert (or merely just competent) in a task or activity helps to build our resilience and reduce our vulnerability to challenging emotions. Sometimes I like to think of it as if we are characters inside a video game, and in order to acquire points, we need to unlock new achievements—with each new achievement point, we build strength and resilience against future challenges.
One key of Building Mastery is to set tangible, attainable goals toward your ultimate goal. We want to strike a balance between challenging ourselves, while still setting ourselves up for success. Over the course of the past four months, I have gradually and mindfully driven further and further, on busier and busier roads—eventually completing a drive on my own three hours from our home into the city. I likely would not have been successful if I had attempted a drive like this from the beginning (which may have actually contributed to more negative emotions and fear around driving), however since I took my time and steadily built competence over time, patience and consistency paid off.
What is something you’ve built mastery of recently? If you can’t think of something, I challenge you to choose something this week and go for it!
WORDS OF WISDOM
MEME OF THE WEEK
BOOK OF THE WEEK
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English Muffin Mummies, Spooky Jack-O-Lantern Smoothie, Spooky Halloween Baked Egg Eyeballs