when I was studying DBT, the most difficult skill for me by far was “acting opposite.” I forget what module that one is in, maybe Distress Tolerance…but regardless, I struggled and struggled with it. and in the process of that struggling, I got in my own way. I over-thought, over-analyzed, over-stressed. I was so insecure in my ability to conquer my disorder that I clung to it even harder. I was afraid to surrender myself wholly to recovery, or at that time, simply to trying a new coping mechanism; at the time I told myself and my treatment team that I was afraid I would fail, that I just simply wouldn’t be able to do it. in retrospect, I wonder how much of me was actually just afraid it would work, that I would discover these new ways of coping with life, and my world would get turned completely on its head.
basically, that’s what happened. five years later, but it happened nonetheless.
it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. or rather, it’s the best thing I’ve ever allowed to happen to me.
today at yoga, the instructor was in a lotus mood. I have nothing against lotus; however, the three injured and /or ruptured ligaments in my knee do. I sprained my LCL in november; lotus is probably the worst thing I can do for it, and it hurts like a bastard. I held my own pretty well until the very end when it was just too painful…and I got so frustrated. frustrated with my body, frustrated with myself at large. it really ruined the practice for me, which is probably the most frustrating thing at all.
driving home I was still furious and cranky, and could see how this could completely destroy my entire day and it was only 10:30 in the morning.
which is when “acting opposite” popped into my head. maybe it wasn’t so much acting as it was thinking opposite, but sometimes I think changing negative internal monologue is even more difficult than changing behaviors!
instead of fuming over the class and my knee, I thought about the good points of the class–some fun planks and side planks, a cool new arm balance, some great vinyasa flows in the beginning. it occurred to me that every class is not going to be the phenomenal, empowering experience I want it to be; that’s what makes those wonderful, exhilarating classes that much more special.
by the time I hit my exit of the highway, most of the frustration had dissipated. and that’s when I realized that I had done the one thing I used to tell my treatment team I just couldn’t do. making the commitment to change is the hardest step. once that happens, everything else falls into place. maybe not perfectly, maybe not neatly or without skips and bumps in the road. but it happens.
after all of that…it happens. it happened.