Tag Archives: introspection

How to Motivate People to Change – Some Keys to Recovery from a DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) Recovery Program

From the perspective of a psychologist in a state hospital treatment setting and a population of individuals who have struggled with recovery over time, I believe insight and understanding is a key to creating a desire to change. I believe it greatly helps people to see the big picture of their life and come to an understanding of why their life is like it is…that is, why they have lost “everything” or most everything they’ve ever loved or cherished…or why things always end up so bad…or why anything good never lasts. I believe folks need to grasp that this life outcome is a product of how they have tried to cope with upsetting life events over time…and the way their life is today…is because of the progressive and worsening consequences of their self-destructive coping mechanisms (drugs, alcohol, verbal and physical aggression, suicide threats and attempts, rebound relationships, and other emotion-driven coping choices). I believe that once they grasp that the quality of their life is based on how they attempt to cope with daily life and major life stressors…once they realize that how they cope with life is responsible for the current state of their life….once they really get this…motivation for behavioral change often follows. In the group I do, they are also taught that part of being wise (use of DBT’s Wise Mind) is not only knowing what to do (Wise Mind Game Plan), but it is about “following through with what we know to do”…because there is nothing wise about knowing what to do…and then not doing it! I believe insight and understanding is an initial part of behavioral change. I also believe that knowledge that change is possible is essential. I believe they need to really get it that other people have done it and have made it through. They have to have this knowledge…which breeds hope that the recovery process actually works…that people do recover and live satisfying and meaningful lives. I also believe personal empowerment is a key ingredient. They have to believe that they can do it…that they have the skills and understandings necessary to pull it off.

Thus, they have to understand why things are as they are..(insight and understanding), they have to recognize that change is attainable (knowledge and hope)…and they have to think they can do it (personal empowerment). Of course, they also need the knowledge, skills, and resources for getting through the tough times that are part of making and undergoing major life changes (life-enhancing coping skills, support system, hobbies and activities, busy-ness). They have to understand the concept of Distress Tolerance…that things will be hard, but they must Get Through It…that recovery is not easy…and in fact, it will be one of the hardest things they’ll ever do. They are also taught that change typically does not occur until we are sick n’ tired of being sick n’ tired…that we have to soooo hate the way things are…that we’re willing to do whatever we’ve got to do to change things…that we refuse to live like this any longer. I believe that people need to be filled with recovery attitudes…or rehab-itudes…and they need to be prepared for the fight of their life…which for many is the fight FOR a life (a decent life) and for others, it is a fight for life itself…because the severity of their consequences has escalated into things being so bad…that it comes down to “life or death”…

When the pain of living like we’re living is greater than the pain of change…that’s when most people decide to change…and the question for the rest of us is…how bad do we have to let things get before we’re willing to make changes! It’s a shame that we’re such stubborn creatures, that we have to let things get so bad…before we’re willing to make changes! If only we knew then…what we know now…how we could have spared ourselves of such long-term pain and suffering.

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Why Am I Eating More and Gaining Weight: Using DBT-CBT Principles to Become Mindful of Mindless Eating

I’ve gone through a very hard time in recent months with my “diet”…or better said, “my eating plan.” My positive eating patterns had become a habit and little emotional energy was invested in the process. I had peace and stability in this area of life. People would ask, “Isn’t it hard to stay on a diet?” No, it really wasn’t because I HAD developed good eating habits…and eating in this manner was natural for me. It was more of a lifestyle than a diet.

But, SOMETHING HAPPENED and these past few months became the most trying time during my four year diet. Not sure what happened, but somehow things got Out-of-Control. I struggled through…and regained fairly good control. Naturally, I’ve been reflecting on WHAT HAPPENED…because I don’t want to let this lifestyle slip through my fingers and for things to get out of hand! I don’t want to get fat again…I don’t want to start the weight gain cycle…AGAIN.

Here’s some things I have thought about. I FINALLY quit smoking in June after 6 attempts this year! Quitting smoking leads to increased eating because my hands and mouth aren’t busy…and reduced metabolism because I’m not loaded with nicotine…HELLO WEIGHT GAIN…and increased appetite!

Another thing that has changed in the last couple of months is that I started taking a daily multivitamin. Now, I haven’t studied recently, but from what I remember, vitamins increase appetite. Not sure why that happens…or if that’s really true. Just some tidbit of information I picked up and think is true.

Another thing…I began living on fruit…fruit was my mainstay…the largest source of calories per day. I loved the fruit diet! However, something was going on and I was craving sweets more…like CHOCOLATE! I was eating the Snickers protein bars…Mmmmm good…however, they are 290 calories each. When I seek to keep calories below 1300 or so a day…that adds up F-A-S-T!!!!

So, I’ve stopped eating fruit…and this has led to a major decrease in the sweet munchies. I’m thinking the sugar in the fruit did something to increase my appetite for SUGAR! In my four years of dieting, I would chocolate binge about once every 4-6 weeks…and while on the fruit diet, the craving for CHOCOLATE was STRONG…and something I gave in to. I believe in “have a craving…satiate it and go on with life.” That has worked very well for me…because I’d eat 800 calories of chocolate…eat less dinner or no dinner…and suffer little net gain in calories that day…and little effect on the monthly average…and little effect on my weight…until recent months!

Another thing that happened in July…is that an overwhelming workload greatly increased…and the type of stress changed…from internal pressure to get the job done…to external pressure…like performance counseling…and a 30-day deadline! I expect the extra stress and the type of distress affected me, too.
Anyways, lots of changes…radical physiological and psycho-emotional changes (nicotine withdrawal and loss, diet change with increased fructose and then refined sugar…and EMOTIONAL STRESS from work…and stress from my daily diet spiraling out of control! You know, I’m sure there are other factors too…that I’m not currently aware of…but, those are the biggest ones on my mind right now!!!! You know…I may have gotten cocky too…had my weight down real good…had this diet thing “down to a science”…and then…slacked off a bit!

Anyways, things have gone fairly well the last 3-4 weeks…actually regained some semblance of peace and stability in my eating. Revisited the 124-125 range…the size 7’s fit again…(size 9 slim fits are sized like a 7!). Went out of town a few days…and did alright. Not a major pig out…ate some restaurant food, but did well with that. Got favorite foods and ate about half. Some extra calories…but nothing Out-of-Control! Back to work tomorrow, will tighten up again…and go on with life. Average calories for October was in the normal range for me…similar to the last 4 years…so,, that’s good!

The last couple of posts in October note what I did to try to get control, so I don’t want to restate EVERYTHING here…cuz I can’t remember and I’m too tired to go back and check!!!! I am Mindful right now that I greatly increased Mindfulness of my eating plan…by reminding myself of my goal (stability in eating, weight management, not get fat again!), counting calories all day so I’m not engaging in mindless eating and CALORIE SHOCK at the end of the day when entering data in the Excel file, controlled portions and food selection (toting certain foods to work and not toting others…and choosing how much to bring, deciding what I’d eat when I got home, eating a little something before I leave work so I don’t go home STARVING TO DEATH…and ready to scarf everything in sight), and temptation management (telling family about my struggle and how to help…DON’T BUY FATTENING FOOD AT THE STORE…and certainly don’t bring it in and let me see it…AND me not buying fattening foods at the store…the ones that are MY favorites!) So, I went back to my early days of dieting…what I did then that worked best for me…to attempt to regain control over my eating.

Another thing I considered is that my weight is low…calorie needs are lower than the early days of dieting…I may be reaching my low…and this may be as low as things naturally go…and I may need to revise MY goal to go lower…and just focus on maintaining this weight…that it may be unreasonable to push myself to lose more. So, with all this in mind…I’m TRYING to be Mindful and to approach this diet thing with Rational Mind and Wise Mind…because Emotional Mind is eating me up!

Using DBT CBT Workbook Recovery Skills To Get Control Of My Out-Of-Control Eating! Losing Weight Again!

I made it through the diet crisis. What a horrible time that was…to feel so out-of-control of my eating and knowing I was very close to relapse back into an EATING DISORDER! It’s kind of sad to think back to that…I was so desperate and struggling. Writing one of the blogs in that period, it occurred to me how much drama and chaos I was experiencing and allowing myself to go through. Because the theme of my life is “Peace and Stability,” I became sick n’ tired of the chaos and drama…and I took control of my out-of-control self! It was like “Ah, hell no” and I got very serious about getting my life under control.

So, I resolved to take advantage of my Wise Mind thinking and I got a Game Plan. I Followed Through with it and packed my food for my work day (planning, decided what to eat), stopped buying fruit (managed temptation), counted the calories throughout the day (Mindfulness), kept reminding myself of my goal to get control (All Day Daily Devotional), was Mindful of the two choices I had – to eat what I wanted and gain all my weight back or to control my eating and keep my weight down (Two Choices), put up tempting food that the family left out (more temptation management), and I Talked Myself Through impulses to eat something that would increase calories too much (Self-Talk, Talking Myself Through the Moment). I practiced what I preach. I wasn’t perfect though…but kept with it (Perseverance).

Just looked and the last entry was 10 days ago. In that time, I had 3 “bad days” in a row (1380 calories or more)– I pigged out on my husband’s home cooked beans and cornbread one day, another was a bunch of M&M’s, and another was chips. However, had many good days, too. Total calories this month is 1255, so, things have averaged out pretty good. Weight went up to 131 one day…and is now back to 124. 122 is my lowest during the last 4 years of dieting. Was often in the 124-125 range before things got out of control recently.

Other dynamics that have helped me over the past week have included…being overbusy and working long hours at work and having less time for food at home (I have been packing an insulated bag with food for work) , my husband hasn’t cooked since the beans and cornbread episode, I have been playing Zuma a lot when I’m home (pleasure and de-stressing time from overworking at work), and the kids have been VERY busy with school stuff in the evening and they haven’t been cooking much either!! So, the planets have lined up well…and all is well. Praise God. How can I forget…I also prayed and asked God to help me Get Control…because I was doing a horrible job of it on my own.

For some reason, I forgot that it was the 10 days after my period that my weight went up (like to 131 recently). Falling to 124 so fast caught my attention and I looked over my Excel spreadsheet and remembered that. So, I’m at a good time now when my weight should stay lower…for a few weeks. Would be fun to lose a new pound and get to 121.

It’s really unbelievable. I once thought that it would be impossible to hit 135…and that if I ever got to 165 it would be an amazing thing. I started out at 260 on my scale…(did I just put that in print) so, it is pretty unbelievable to be in the 120’s…or even under 200!

My goal is 112. I spent many years of my life in the teens…usually 115-118. If it’s do-able, I would like to hit 112 so I have a little room to move up and down and still stay below 118.

My kid was just reading this and asked why I wrote that I’ve lost 145 pounds if it’s only 136. I reminded her that I got pregnant during the last 4 years…gained weight during the pregnancy and when all was said and done after I lost the baby, I was 13 pounds higher. So, when I went back to my diet, I had to lose those 13 pounds again. So, in reality, I’ve lost 136 pounds + 13…so, I’m really at 149. I count those 13 because I had to lose them again…and regaining them wasn’t my fault…like going back up to 131!

Anyways, all’s well…for now. I guess that’s “for now in the diet world” because my life is entirely Out-of-Control at work…and I can’t stand the feeling. It’s not a wonder why I entitled the DBT-CBT Workbook, “Out-of-Control”!!! The way I’m dealing with that is by busting my butt to get caught up…or at least to get things well enough in control that I don’t feel so overwhelmed and desperately Out-of-Control! I’ll focus on that…work hard now…play later!

Balance is a big thing in the DBT-CBT recovery program and I noticed that I was achieving some semblance of balance by allowing myself to play Zuma for hours instead of working at home and making myself do things I didn’t feel like doing at home. I had to notice that because I felt guilty about playing so much Zuma!

I tell my Group folks that “normal” life isn’t a cakewalk…and “normal” folks aren’t so normal (ain’t I a good example! ) I tell them that “normal” life is stressful and it’s not easy…that “normal” people have many things to struggle with, too….and that’s it’s always something. Things are always “Coming At Us” that we have to struggle through and deal with…that the skills taught in the workbook not only apply to recovery from drugs and alcohol, or cutting and suicide attempts, or depression or Bipolar Disorder…that they are about how to deal with life in general.

I share with them glimpses of my struggles as examples now and then…and I let them know that even though I am years into recovery from my history of seriously self-destructive coping behaviors…I still have to deal with myself on a daily basis…and that I live, eat, and breathe the recovery principles in the workbook…and that I, too, get tired of having to deal with stuff ALL THE TIME!

Willfulness and Willingness…Fighting for Recovery…From My Overeating Disorder!

“You get skinnier every time I see you.” That’s what my friend said to me today…and I thought, “Fat chance of that!”

Weighed this morning – 128. Not horrible, better than 129 the other day…but lots worse than my monthly average the last few months (125 range) with lows at 122-123.

Getting dressed, I put on my size 10’s…my larger pants since I’m not in the 125 range. Oh my God, they were tight. I am not doing tight first thing in the morning, else by mid-afternoon seams will be a-bursting! Went up a half size bigger…ahhhhhh…and to think I was going to put those in storage just in case I started to get fat again. I shouldn’t need to wear those. I wore those at 135. But…if the pants fit, wear them!

I was feeling despondent, helpless, out-of-control…desperate…hopeless. Then, anxiety hit. I realized this could easily be a relapse point. Eating out-of-control…felt discouraged…was bloated…and having to wear “fat pants”…everything was just right for an Emotional Mind recovery sabotage.

My first panic thought was to strictly reduce my calories to 1100…to punish myself. (Emotional Mind thinking).

Rational Mind said, “That’s too low…and punishing yourself will backfire..it’s not a good thing for you.”

Wise Mind said, “Chill out Mel…work to maintain calories in the 1200 range…that’s very do-able for you…you can tighten up a bit.”

Thank God I’m into this DBT-CBT thing…and I live, eat, and breathe it. And thank God I caught myself in the middle of this serious Emotional Mind game. I thought, “You know, I’m not going there.” Then I thought, “I think I’ve just entered a fight for my recovery. It’s at that point now.”

I then recognized I felt a bit angry about this eating thing…frustrated, just tired of it. Then another thought flew through my mind, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” This is usually a negative, revenge type of Emotion-Driven thought, a self-destructive thought. However, for me…today…it was more like, “It’s time to kick this in the ass…I’m tired of it.” “It” being…”I’m tired of my crap”…it’s like “Shit or get off the pot”…or…”If you’re serious about this diet thing, then make it happen already…Get control or lose control. Game’s over. It’s time to get serious.”

I thought about DBT and “Willfulness vs. Willingness.” Well, one is usually bad – the stubborn, willfulness one…and willingness is usually good – the “I’ll do whatever I need to do to be okay”…it’s the “I surrender,” “I accept,”…the, ”I’m ready and willing” one.

Well, for me today, Willfulness was a positive thing. It was the stubborn and determined part of me…that fight from deep inside…being willful in a survivalist type of way…the, “I’ll be damned if this kicks my ass” type of fire from within!

Willingness was there, too. They stood side by side. I was willing to do what I needed to do to get this eating thing going on. I surrender my will to eat whatever I want to eat. I surrender to setting limits for my eating.

Well, I’ve done very well today with just a minimum of distress. Ended the food day at 6:30pm with 1185 cals. For breakfast I had 1-1/2 fat free turkey sandwiches (double fiber whole wheat bread) and drank coffee with about 25 calories of flavored coffee creamer. I had a can of green beans for lunch. That held me over until my mid-afternoon can of black bean soup which kept me from leaving work starving to death and ready to eat everything in sight when I got home from work. Upon arriving home, I had 3 black cherry yogurts (80 cals each and quite a treat) and a Snickers 290 calorie chocolate protein bar (quite a treat…like a candy bar!) I picked at leftovers and had a couple bites of chicken with green peppers. SUCCESS. Had to forego fruit and sunflower seeds today, but I’m fine. Started the sunflower seeds in the evening when I quit cigarettes a few months ago…and also added a lot of fruit then to deal with the nicotine withdrawal CONSTIPATION! Did just fine though without them tonight.

Now…today I went back to some of the dieting basics like I resolved to do a few days ago…yesterday…whenever it was. I kept a running tally of my calories through the day…and emailed them to my home! I was mindful of what I would eat (for the most part), planned my food day (for the most part) and I did the “think through before you do” thing. Now, tomorrow is a new day and I sure hope I experience that fire from within…and fight for my recovery all over again! I hope my battles help you in your fight.

How to Get Control of the Quit Smoking Bloat, Weight Gain, and Constipation! Must DBT my way through it!

I teach DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)…in fact I wrote the DBT-CBT Recovery Workbook, “Out of Control.” I have the skills and understandings for behavioral change…I’ve recovered from many things…and I’ve kicked many habits…but this one is kicking my butt this time. This is a follow-up to two previous “I’M TRYING TO STOP SMOKING” WordPress blogs. It’s been about two weeks since my last blog on trying to quit smoking and the bloating and weight gain that compels me to resume smoking. So, I’ve been smoking again for the last two weeks. It’s really a love-hate relationship with smoking…I love to smoke, I hate to smoke. I hate it more than I love it and I’m determined to quit. My plan continues to be to get a Game Plan for quitting. I am going to a conference tomorrow in California on risk assessment, the Reid Meloy PCL-R one. I didn’t want to suffer the agony of being three sizes bigger and “feeling fat,” so I’ve allowed myself to smoke for this period…two weeks plus the conference.

Folks in my DBT Group would say I am just sabotaging myself and falling into the trap of Emotional Mind by coming up with Emotion-Driven Lies and Excuses to continue smoking…that my excuse to smoke is nothing but an excuse to smoke. Alike many people who sabotage themselves this way, I would say, “I’ve got a plan to quit and this is part of my plan. If you knew me, you’d know I was going to quit…and this is part of my quitting plan.” And everyone else would say…”Bull Sheets…that’s just bull, Sheets!” And I would say…”Just sit back and watch. I’ve quit many things in my life and I will quit this…come hail or high water…I’ll find an umbrella to make it through this storm.” And, I will. I’m determined to quit and I’ll find a way. If I knew that smoking two more weeks and through the conference would cause me lung cancer, I’d put this cigarette out right here, right now, and call it quits. Glad I don’t know that! I do think about it though and I’ve asked God to see me through this…and keep me safe while I get ‘er done.

I sent an email out to the Docs and nurse practitioners at the hospital yesterday and was just about desperate enough to send an email out across campus. I explained this bloating – constipation – weight gain problem and I asked if they knew of a medication or patch that would minimize this. I read a bit about Chantix and stopped at the side effects of constipation and gas! I haven’t studied any more…so, I don’t know if Nicorette gum or other nicotine replacement therapies will help. I’m hoping some readers will share their experiences and we can figure out what to do. Many people are reading this blog, so many are struggling with the same thing. Please leave some comments and let us know what works and what doesn’t. I’d really like a magic pill or patch so I can easily quit smoking. I’ve quit 5-6 times this year and I’m fine mentally, emotionally, and psychologically after the first couple days…until this bloat thing happens and my weight soars…and my pant size increases by 2. So, if I can get this bloat thing figured out, I’d be quit again in no time. I seek the “No pain…big gain” method of recovery!

So, if I don’t know of anything else to do when I return from the conference, I’ll set another quit date, try Nicorette gum or something similar and go at it again. I understand that the gum is expensive…and I did try to sabotage myself with that excuse…but, my Rational Mind isn’t going to put up with that crap and quickly reminded me that smoking is more expensive. Ended that. I do have a doctor appointment set up in early July and I can get some information from my PCP at that time if Nicorettes doesn’t work. I’ve also become Mindful that my current diet is very high in fiber and protein and that may be why I am having this new problem with quitting smoking. I’ve always been able to quit for long periods of time and have never had this problem…until this year. Maybe I have to change my diet and eat more roughage rather than soft protein bars. Maybe I have to exercise more often. Do you know that riding a horse burns about 200 calories an hour? All I have to do is to go outside, sit on a horse for an hour, and let it take me for a walk! That’s sure a lazy woman’s way to exercise. If I can hold on while the horse gallops, I can burn about 500 an hour! I thought about putting a sign on my horse’s butt and trotting past power-walkers on the road or galloping past a jogger that says “I’m burning more calories than you!” FUN-NY! Yes, I know I’m not getting the same cardio benefits…nor pulmonary…but the mental picture is quite amusing!

Long blog short…I’m still smoking and I’m not done quitting! I’ll keep folks posted on this journey and what I learn as I go…and what I have to do to get there! Hope there’s a magic pill!

Fighting Through the Battle to NOT Smoke Cigarettes…Armed with DBT-CBT Skills and Understandings

I weighed myself this morning and I lost 4 pounds over the past 24 hours. Back below the 130 mark. That part of my Emotional Mind feels relief. I’m about mad and frustrated though that this is the way things are…that I have to smoke again to get my body working again…that smoking does this for me and my body is addicted to the cigarettes. I’ve smoked and quit smoking probably 20 times in my life with about 6 times being over the last 5 months…I’ve never had this kind of problem before when I’ve quit smoking. My body has never reacted like this. For me, quitting smoking has always been a choice…a decision. I would decide to quit and I quit…and that was that. I was fine. It was a no big deal type of thing. It was a decision.

Today, it’s not just a decision. It’s not so easy. I’m having big major problems quitting. My body is addicted and it’s causing me big major problems. That makes me angry / frustrated because I want to be in control of my body and my life. I want to be able to make decisions about my behavior…and to be able to change my behavior without all these problems. I want to decide to do something…and then it happens. I did quit smoking for 10 days because I set my mind to it…but then, something happened. The something that happened is that a big boulder fell out of the sky and slammed right into the middle of my recovery path. That something was the bloating, constipation, and subsequent MASSIVE weight gain. My reality changed. Things aren’t the same as they used to be. I have something new to deal with.

That reality is that I’m not 16 or 25 or 35 anymore. I’m getting older and my body is changing. Things aren’t the same as they were before when I’ve successfully quit smoking…and my task in life right now is to adjust and deal with my new reality. My reality is…my body is having a major GI (gastrointestinal) response to withdrawal from cigarettes. My body is reacting in a big way. My reality is that to be successful with quitting smoking, I am going to have to find a way around, over, through, or passed this big obstacle in my recovery path. I am going to have to find a way to deal with it.

A bit of history. I have lost 145 pounds over the last 4 years. I was never FAT until I got FAT at about the age of 29. I was usually in the 115 to 135 range…but then, marriage to a man that eats, children, and a job AND a business away from home that created a chaotic out-of-control eating lifestyle…led me to gain a pound or so a month…over many months…to become VERY overweight. This is another story and over time, I’ll blog about it. But today, I’ve lost a ton of weight…and I am determined NOT to get fat again. I don’t want to go back there again.

So, it really alarms me when my weight starts going up and I’m NOT IN CONTROL. Since I quit smoking 10 days ago, my weight went up 7 pounds. The last day before I quit smoking, it jumped two pounds. Rationally, I know it’s not real weight, granted maybe ½ a pound of it is because I was eating a bit more those days. However, I went up two pant sizes and even the bigger size was a little tight. My Emotional Mind was very disturbed. If we can even call it Wise Mind…it kicked in and said smoke again, get your weight back down, and get a new Game Plan. That sounds like a horrible Emotion-Driven Lie I told myself. However, I know me and I know my sense of determination and I can get away with that. I am bound and determined to kick this smoking thing because I don’t want to be 65 and tied to an oxygen tank. I have other plans for my life and it doesn’t include toting around an oxygen tank. I will find a way to make this happen…one way or another…and come hail or high water.

I still have some options. I can talk with a doctor and find out if a patch or a pill can ease my physiological withdrawal from cigarettes and can keep my body from reacting so intensely to the lack of whatever poison it is in cigarettes that is causing this bloating, constipation, and major weight gain. I can start exercising regularly to keep my metabolism up and to offset the increase in calories. I can ask my family NOT to bring ANYTHING in the house that will tempt me to eat…to hide it in their room, leave it in the car, but to keep it out of my range of vision. In the last few days, Sour Cream and Onion Lays potato chips came in the house and a box of Reeses’ cereal. Even snacking on those added 300 calories to my day…on Thursday…the day I decided to smoke again. I can also make some calorie / diet changes to what I normally eat on my own and without temptation from others. I can adjust my routine diet. I’m not done yet. I still have some options…and I still have a helluva lot of fight inside me to get past and through this tough time. Come hail or high water and boulders that fall out of the sky, I will make it through…because it is important to me to quit smoking. Do pray for me because I really want this to happen…and I need all the help I can get!

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and extending through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing: service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook. The full title is “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” – Recovery Works Publications, 2009.

Pride vs. Humility…You Must Be So Proud of Yourself

I’ve had to ponder an awkward moment recently.  A lady I know from the Youth Horseman Club my family belongs to asked me if I had finished my book yet.  I told her I had and she asked if I had  copy she could look at.  I gave her a copy and a few hours later, she came up to me and excitedly said, “You must be so proud of yourself.”  It was an awkward moment because I didn’t respond.  I began thinking about that.  Unless I’m really anxious, I’m not one to just blurt out an impulsive response.  The moment passed and probably due to the awkward nature of my silence, she went on to something else.  Because I don’t know her so well, it bothered me as I processed the day later.  “What did she think?  It was so unnatural.”  I pondered it of course…and I’m stunned that I don’t feel proud.  I SHOULD BE so proud of myself.  I SHOULD be walking around “with the Big-Head” for awhile.  But, I didn’t feel PROUD…and I still don’t!

Rather than feeling proud, I feel like I have accomplished something. I worked my butt off, I labored….I put in THOUSANDS of hours. I worked hard, so I accomplished something. For some reason, that doesn’t equate to feeling proud of myself. I earned it, it didn’t come easy…I accomplished something. I put in the hours, I got something done.  I feel “even”…not proud.

I also feel like it was in the realm of something I could do, that I had skills for…so it was an expected outcome…

The other thing I thought about is that I strongly dislike people who are “so proud of themselves.”  Their pride is usually ugly…it often involves devaluing others. They feel superior to others…I don’t feel superior to others…I feel like I worked my tail off and I got something done. If everyone worked their tail off, they’d get something done. It’s not a matter of being superior to others…it’s a matter of being focused and dogged determined to get something done.

I also think about this project as being God-driven…and many times, I experienced it to be a “not me” experience…a “where did that come from” experience. Sometimes, I’d finish writing a section and fall back in my chair…and I’d say, “God, that was good.” Then, recognizing what had just happened, my next thought was usually, “God…that was good! That was awesome! That was really great! Thank you, God.” I had the moment of realization that what just went through my head and onto the computer screen…DID NOT originate in MY head! I recognized who authored the passage! In case I lost you here, I recognized that God wrote the really great parts of the book, not me. So, I don’t feel proud…I just feel like I put in the labor…that I worked hard!

The other thing I think about…is that God wants me humble. He wants me to love and respect his people…not to put myself on a pedestal…and to consider other people less than me. I think God gave me these types of skills, and these types of experiences, to equip me to do this…and when I accomplish this…that means I have accomplished something that was set out for me to do. It was expected. I don’t feel proud… I feel like I accomplished something I was supposed to do.

Now that I’m finished with the task…God is giving me some rest! I don’t feel driven, I don’t feel pressured, I feel relieved.

People ask me if I’m going to write another one. Though I can’t imagine ever being driven enough or crazy enough to do something like this again…I know it’s down the road for me. “When?” they ask…”When God lays the pressure on me again…and the only peace I get…is by working my tail off.” I’ve told people before that I feel like I was born to work…but at least I get some periods of rest now and then!

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Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook – full title “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior.