Back when I was in University, in one of my Psych. classes we talked a lot about the different types of therapy (CBT, DBT, etc).
One of the things that stuck out in my mind from DBT was “Building Mastery” – which is, essentially, when you have something really hard to do that you don’t want to do and you do it anyway.
It could be something as simple as riding city transit when you have agoraphobia, or speaking in front of a room full of strangers when public speaking makes you want to hurl. At the end of said experience, you feel a little bit better, a little bit stronger, a bit of pride in yourself for doing it even though you were terrified – that is the essence of building mastery.
This concept has stuck with me through the years because it is one I experience regularly as a person with OCD. Every time I resist the urge to wash my hands, which is very difficult for me, and touch the railing anyway – that is building mastery (albeit on a small scale). It’s chipping away a bit of the old self, encrusted in fear and anxiety, and revealing the shiny, strong, newness underneath.
Yesterday I did something so incredibly difficult for myself, that I spent the last two weeks *literally* sick as I dreaded it. I knew I needed to do it, I wanted to do it, but I was absolutely terrified to do it. I had an appointment with someone who absolutely, completely, terrified me to address something I have ignored for 20 years. I stood outside the door the building for more than 20 minutes, fighting with myself on whether I was actually going to go in or turn and run, praying for strength, and shaking like a leaf. It was the hardest thing I have done in a long, long time (perhaps ever). Twice in the meeting I resisted the urge to flee…but as I used every ounce of my strength to remain, and hash out what needed to be hashed out. As the appointment continued, I felt myself slowly open up and began to settle. In that 45 minutes I grew as a person…and I left there SO thankful that I went, and am still so glad I stuck it out. It was so, so worth it…and will lead to so many beautiful, wonderful things.
But you guys, getting there was almost impossible. But I did it, and I am SO glad and SO proud of myself for doing it. That’s what building mastery is…getting a little bit closer to the person you were meant to be, through doing the things that challenge you most.
Have you ever heard of building mastery? Do you have anything like this in your life that needs to be done, but you’ve avoided because of fear or denial?