Welcome to our blog! This is the third post in a three part series on difficult emotions by Jessica Foreman, PLMFT.
The ability to ask for what you want and say no to a request is an essential skill. Yesterday we examined how a person who is very upset might use a DBT skill called checking the facts to calm themselves. Today we’ll explore keeping relationships and our self respect at the same time.
According to DBT, there are three major goals in relationships, keeping the relationship, getting needs met, and keeping self-respect. You can think of these as balls we juggle as we do the communication dance. Sometimes we want one of these, sometimes we need a combination of them. The balance can be difficult to achieve sometimes because we all respond to and interpret words based on our life experiences.
There are a few simple guide posts for good communication. First, be mindful of your own emotions and experience in the conversation. Pushing away feelings usually leads to explosions, leaving, or feeling miserable. Second, give back some of what you are hearing. Counselors call this skill reflection, it simply means stating what you hear the other person saying in your own words. Finally, be fair and truthful. Relationships should be good for both parties. It is very healthy and acceptable to ask someone to stop doing something that is hurting you or to ask for what you need.
Pro Tip: Try this simple fill in the blank statement in your next conversation.
I feel (emotion word), about (situation), and I need/would like __________.
Thank you for participating in our series on DBT and strong emotions! Never miss a post! Subscribe below.