Mind Matters, By Jeannette Kennedy
Adjusting your own emotional tripod can bring balance to life
On May 3 I had the great fortune to be a presenter at a women’s event put on by Well-Within Chiropractic. Also presenting was Los Angeles-based psychologist Dr. Joan Rosenberg, who discussed emotional mastery, and organizer Dr. Celina Spence, who spoke of the mind-body connection.
My topic was “What’s Your Truth? Live Your Truth” based on dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT); specifically focusing on the modules mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. My goal was to encourage audience members to “tune into” themselves for increased efficiency rather than coast along on autopilot or be at the whim of continuous external and internal demands.
DBT was originally developed for those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Those with BPD experience extreme identity disturbance, severe emotion dysregulation, poor distress tolerance and interpersonal chaos.
We all experience challenges in those four domains, regardless of gender. Identity confusion ensues as a result of the various roles we must fill (spouse, employee, parent, homemaker, friend). We lose sight of who we are and what our priorities are. The competing demands present challenges, especially if this conflicts with our goals or our values and beliefs.
We all have occasional emotional turbulence, as well as moments of intense suffering, causing us to make choices we might not otherwise make (e.g. using food, substances, shopping, etc. to numb out). As well, there isn’t one person reading this that hasn’t experienced difficulty in a relationship with another human being at one time or another in their life.
If these areas aren’t navigated efficiently, then we’re living reactively rather than proactively, thereby increasing problems rather than resolving them. I encouraged people to attend to three areas of efficiency for a more meaningful and purposeful life: Objective Effectiveness (represents your goals), Relationship Effectiveness (represents people in your life) and Self-Respect Effectiveness (represents values and beliefs).
Ideally we’re prioritizing all three of these domains, but life is never this simple. Consider each of these to represent a leg on a tripod. When we’re on uneven terrain, we need to adjust one or two of the legs for stability. This is typical for our lives.
To illustrate, I value knowledge and education (self-respect), and a personal dream is to complete a Ph.D. (objective). However, the impact on my daughter and husband (relationships) would be potentially detrimental. As such, my objective is modified to include workshops, readings, and consultation so my life has better balance.
I encourage you to plug your data into each of those three domains to see where you may need to make modifications. Your data can include your life vision overall (which naturally changes over time) or dilemmas in specific situations. This allows increased efficiency in terms of identity, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness.
Start by asking yourself the following questions: What are your objectives and goals that add meaning and purpose to your life? Are there relationship dynamics that need to change so you can have healthy relationships? What are your values and beliefs so you can maintain self-respect? What is the interrelationship between the three? If you “tune into” these areas, then you can readily answer “What’s My Truth?” and live your life according to your truth.