By: Krystyl Wright, LCSW
Program Manager, DBT Lead Therapist
What does it mean to give in? Giving in can surely damage the ego and therefore we hold on to our truth. In some instances, holding on to our truth and not letting go can indirectly strain relationships and invalidate our own experiences. One of the many Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) metaphors explains the core element of DBT is dialectical thinking, the core belief is “Walking The Middle Path.” When we “Walk the Middle Path,” we make room for compromise. When we compromise we keep just enough validation for ourselves and the rest of it we give to the other person. Here is one of the many examples I use when teaching “Walking the Middle Path”:
Cameron walks in the lunchroom at work to eat lunch and notices that his lunch is gone. Paul comes in the lunchroom and says, “I saw Lisa eat lunch already and you know she always eats everyone’s lunch.” Paul walks into Lisa’s office and says, “You ate my freaking lunch again…you must hate me. I never want to work with you again!..” The End
Acceptance “Walk the Middle Path” Change
Paul will need to recognize the middle path exists. Paul would first accept that his lunch is gone and address the issue with a mindful approach. Our Interpersonal Relationships are how we navigate the world. While Paul may be angry with Lisa, he also has to work with her and find a balance. If nothing else makes sense remember that “Walking the Middle Path” is a DBT tool that will strengthen and maintain interpersonal relationships. To Walk the Middle Path means replacing “either-or” thinking with “both-and” thinking. Too often, we make decision from a too rigid or a too loose place. Walking the Middle Path allows you to deconstruct how not to make all decisions from a black and white lens. This is difficult to do without much practice. Acceptance and change are most easily accessible when we choose to Walk the Middle Path. In doing so, we become unstuck and more flexible towards change. The idea is that we value our own perspective but also that of others. Walking the Middle Path is not a state of being but of a state-of doing to create peace in an environment that may be difficult to do.