“We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing!” ― George Bernard Shaw
The Acceptance Skills are often the most difficult. “Willingness” is a skill that helps us move toward “Radical Acceptance”. “Willingness” is being willing, or open, to doing something that might be difficult, because it is what is needed.  Wise Mind opens us up to being more willing in our lives. 

The purpose is to transform stubbornness and denial that keeps us stuck, into “Willingness” to participate, to move forward, and to do the hard, but helpful work, we need.

Do what is needed for the situation you are dealing with.  Open yourself up to being willing.

Try “Willing Hands”:  If your body and mind feel rigid or stuck, open the top of your palms up fully and place upwards on your lap.  Then take a few deep breathes.  Take a moment to “Observe” if you feel more willing.

Do you, or your loved one, experience flashbacks?

Most of us understand a flashback as being a memory w/ images & pictures. It is important to understand that flashbacks are any of the following emotional content coming up intrusively:

·      Body Memories (Body Sensations)

·      Sudden Emotions/Feelings

·      Auditory Memories

·      Racing, Paranoid, or Obsessive Thinking

·      Pictures, images, symbols

·      Nightmares

·      Sudden Somatic Experiences: pain, loss of sight, paralysis, fainting, etc.

FAST is an acronym for an interpersonal skill that helps us uphold our self-respect. We use FAST when we feel taken advantage of, someone is overstepping our personal boundaries, and when our self–respect is on the line. F – be Fair

A – no Apologies

S – Stick to your values

T – be Truthful

Be fair to yourself and the other person(s).  No apologizes, this is the not the time to apologize… this may be an opposite action for you.  Stick to your values. Do you know your top 5 values?  Be Truthful, this is when we lie or fabricate or omit stuff, because we feel shame or fear or guilt.  Your truth is good enough and is IMPORTANT!

Learning to Self-Soothe is instrumental in learning how to balance our automatic nervous system. In my practice this is one of the skills most of my clients’ fall deficient in.  It sounds easy enough, do something soothing. We may even say to ourselves, “I get it”, BUT DO YOU know how to soothe yourself in a positive way without escaping, avoiding, denying, repressing, or overly expressing?

We are NOT born knowing how to soothe; we learn it from the environment around us. If we did not properly learn this in the first 7 years of life, we are deficient until we build this skill. Also, there are things that can happen to us at any age that can create a sense of losing this skill.

In DBT it is an essential Distress Tolerance skill. Just as the senses can arose our emotions, they can also soothe our emotions. Use the 5-Senses to Soothe your nervous system. Find things (without consequences) under each category (Sight, Hearing, Smelling, Touching, & Tasting) that are Soothing to you; use them train or retrain your brain to relax.  Build a Self Soothe kit for yourself and use it.  

According to the ACA, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is being diagnosed at a much higher frequency than it has been historically (2013); at least within the United States and the Western World abroad.  Surely we are becoming more aware of mental illness, which may be some of the reason for the increase. Furthermore, NPD is showing up most commonly among college students and young adults. There are ongoing debates as to why this is, and likely it is a multitude of factors. So let’s look at some possibilities that may realistically have an impact:

1.      There are developmental shifts that are occurring due to: increased longevity, shifts in consciousness, present day stressors, and changes in world beliefs about aging, careers, marriage, and more.   

2.      The younger generations are exposed to different parenting, schooling, technologies, and a rapidly changing world, which in turn fosters and promotes traits that are seen in NPD.

3.      Competitiveness and perfectionism are reinforced as necessary in our current society, putting new or a different set of pressures on our younger generations.  

The “big picture” projects that there have always been changes, some good and some bad, that occur in human evolution.  We have all heard from someone, “when I was young we didn’t have this….or do this”…..etc.  Therefore, the development of more narcissism may be true, and may even be necessary, in today’s world.  It may also be that this new shift falls to the extreme and then at some point will come into more of a balance, as history often repeats.  Many people have a hard time with change, and may see this as a negative occurrence, especially when not being able to see the future outcome, but as with most things that happen in our lives there is usually an unseen purpose.  

Let’s look at some of the traits that are seen as being magnified in today’s youth that are also seen in NPD, such as: a sense of entitlement, competitiveness, identity seeking, and a strong focus on self. It is true that these are narcissistic traits, but they are not necessarily pathological.  All humans have some narcissistic traits that are beneficially used for self-preservation, protection, and ultimately survival (Ronningstam, 2013).  Developmentally, as we begin to live longer there may also be shifts and changes in a human’s developmental stages.  For instance, using Erickson’s psychosocial developmental model, the “Adolescence stage” from 12-18 showcases these very traits as being a normal process where the teen works at developing a sense of self and of identify that is needed in order to move to later stages of development.  Historically, the next stage of “Young Adulthood” from 19-40 was more focused on finding loving relationships in terms of finding spouses or long-term intimate relationships in order to start a family, which is not as true today.  Today’s young adults, at least during the earlier part of this stage from 19-30, are more likely to go to college, to enter higher levels of graduate school, and to be highly focused on building a career.  Furthermore, anxiety and depression have also dramatically increased for this developmental stage, at least partly due to schooling, the work place, and/or economic pressures among other things (ACA, 2013).  This is important because when a person, any person, is feeling high levels of anxiety they are physiologically more likely to be self-focused and self-absorbed.  In turn, the experience of anxiety from the pressures discussed may increase the need for entitlement, competitiveness, and identity seeking in order to succeed today.  Thus, likely being a period of time that many young adults’ struggle to find his/her identify and place in the world of work.  This shift may call for the “adolescent stage” to continue past 18 years of age, or to break the stage of “Young Adulthood” into two stages.  The argument here is that narcissism may be developmentally appropriate for some young adults.  However, with that said, there are also pure cases of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) within most age groups, including young adulthood, that are enduring, pervasive, and that can cause moderate to severe dysfunction.  

To learn more about NPD, check out Dr. Elsa Ronningstom Ph.D Harvard Professor
Perfectionism = Feeling Not Good Enough

  • Absorbs our Energy; Exhausting Us
  • Affects Self-Esteem & Self-Worth
  • Causes Depression & Anxiety
  • Leads to Diseases of Body & Mind
  • Decreases Intimacy in Relationships
  • Prevents us from Living Fully
  • Based on Shame = Fear of Disconnection

Finding A Middle Path          
  • Do the least amount to be “effective”
  • Mantra “Good Enough”
  • COURAGE to be imperfect
  • Self-Compassion
  • Embrace vulnerability
  • Practice Gratitude
  • Radical Acceptance
  • Opposite Action to Doing Mind
  • Wise Mind: Balance Doing Mind & Being Mind

Coping skill of the week: OBSERVE. This is a Mindfulness skill that is easy to explain and yet harder than you think to apply. It is one of the most important skills, becuase it leads us towards other skills, self-regulation, and new insights. OBSERVE is to simply to notice. Take notice and be curious w/ observing your internal experiences: feelings, emotions, body sensations, thoughts, judgments, urges. 

OBSERVE externally with your senses, what do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? 

A great practice is to OBSERVE when you notice an emotion arise. What do you notice??????