Inspiration

I Have A Dream

  • I took my daughters of color to a Broadway show this weekend and I held them up to reach the water fountain
  • We stayed in a hotel several times last year together
  • We rode public transportation together through the city
  • We used the same stairwell and entrance to public buildings
  • I watch them walk into school where there are kids of all colors
  • We swim in public pools with people of varying races…

…these may not seem like a big deal to anyone in 2020, but in the lifetime of their grandparents, this would have all been impossible due to laws of segregation. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech in 1963 came ONE HUNDRED years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into effect by Abraham Lincoln, and yet segregation was still in action and actively enforced.

Today we can look at life 57 years after MLK Jrs speech and while great progress has been made, I’d say we still have a ways to go. Our worlds might be legally integrated; however, we still live in segregation. Most people aren’t choosing to socialize outside of their race, religion, ethnicity, or socio-economic class. (take a look at the last 5-10 people you texted…how different are they from you?)

We strive to celebrate connecting with others who are different in my family, and yet my life continues to be filled with people who are more “the same” than “different”. It takes active seeking and planning in our current culture to connect with people who look and live differently than you do. So I have a dream…I have a dream that it won’t be uncomfortable for people to approach someone of a different background. I have a dream that a diverse elementary school would not be an oddity. I have a dream that the world will continue to grow to be more tolerant and accepting of all kinds of differences! Help me with my dream…go talk to someone who looks or lives differently than you do!

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr

Advertisements
DBT, Inspiration, mental health

Four Options with Any Problem

I am struck by the quickness with which we feel we do not have a choice.  I hear myself (and others) saying things like “I didn’t have a choice…” or “I guess I have to…” on a regular basis and yet I am also equally struck by the concept that we do have a choice! In any given moment and with every given situation, you always have a multitude of choices!

I DBT we teach that a person always has four choices in coping with a problem:

  • Solve the problem

This is quite possibly the worst one on this list because if it were so simple, I think we all WOULD solve our own problems!  What is valid about this option is that we must take time to assess what the actual problem is and determine whether it is in our control or not.  If we are determining that the problem is: my spouse folds the towels wrong then I would challenge you and say that you need to dig deeper and look at what role you play in the scenario.  We might discover that the real problem is: I am clinging to my preference as to how the towels are folded and judging my spouse as incompetent.  In the second version of the problem, we now can apply the strategies below to solve the problem in a more creative way.

  • Change your opinion/thoughts/beliefs about the problem (one of my favorite…more below)

In continuing with the same problem above, we could work to change how we are thinking about the towels.  We could have a more comical thought: The way the towels are folded does not change their absorbency. You could have an attitude of gratitude: I am so grateful that my spouse took time to fold the towels.  You could have a change in your thought process: I never thought to fold them like that, I’ll give their way a try and see if I like it better.

  • Accept the situation (ie: stop lamenting how bad it is and accept that it just IS, letting go of your anger and resentment about the situation)

This option allows you to not get so angry every time you see the towels folded differently than you prefer.  It allows you to look at the towel and recognize that it is a towel, not a symbol of spousal defiance.  It allows you to see your partner as a partner, not a nuisance.  I also love this option due to the freedom it brings.  There is a freedom in not getting so angry about the “little things” or about the things in life that are out of your control.

  • Stay miserable (and/or make it worse).

This is the option we all tend to jump to! We belittle people we love, we yell and scream over things that really don’t alter our life’s course.  We throw things, we hurl insults, we give the silent treatment, we make passive aggressive gestures and comments that only serve to fuel the fire.  This option does not take into account the long-term goals (staying married) and only pays attention to the short-term urge.

 

Which do you jump to?

Which do you think would be the most effective one for you to start using more?

Take time this week to press pause when you feel yourself preparing to engage in a problematic reaction to a (perceived) problem and take a moment to ponder these 4 choices.  You may be able to free yourself from potential negative consequences!

doors