Building Mastery

Building Mastery

Building Mastery

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing emotion regulation skills with clients recently. It has me reflecting on the ways in which I use my skills of accumulating positives and building mastery, both presently and in the past.

These are both part of our DBT skills called ABC PLEASE which are used to increase emotional resilience and decrease vulnerability to future unpleasant emotions.

An Example of Building Mastery

A memory came to mind from last year when I went ice skating, which I hadn’t done in nearly 10 years. I took ice skating lessons for a few months when I was a child and had been ice skating on and off throughout my life. I had the brilliant idea that I wanted to build mastery and get back on the ice rink and learn how to skate backwards.

When I was at the ice skating rink there was a group of girls, who were kind enough to offer to teach me how to skate backwards. Let’s just say it was quite the sight watching me try this sophisticated move! I got close so many times and felt SO proud and accomplished (and incredibly silly that I was laughing at myself the whole time). My partner took a few videos of me so I could see that I wasn’t actually skating backwards properly even though I was convinced I was doing it. I was hysterically laughing throughout my impromptu ice skating lesson as well as later watching those recorded videos of myself. Even to this day, thinking of that experience and rewatching the videos, I get a big laugh. I might not be the next olympic ice skater AND I sure felt proud of myself!

Being Mindful of Your Accomplishments

No matter what task we’re choosing to do to build mastery, the most important part is to be mindful of feeling proud and accomplished afterwards. It’s the little moments in a day for me when I build mastery—such as figuring out how to put together one of my daughter’s LEGO sets or learning how to change the toner in the printer at work or mastering a new recipe in my air fryer.

Building mastery helps me feel proud and accomplished and allows me to feel competent and capable, feelings that I carry with me throughout my day and week. When you have a repertoire of activities that you enjoy and excel in, it builds your self confidence and ensures you feel capable on a regular basis. You also have something to fall back on in times of boredom, depression, and anxiety.

By accumulating positive experiences and building your skills and talents, you’ll be more likely to bounce back quickly from a negative experience and overcome unwanted emotions.

Authored by: Ilana Sancha, LMSW