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Mindfulness Counseling, Accepting Reality, and My take on Personality Disorders

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

I like to encourage folks who do not feel called to meditate, that even using the concepts of mindfulness can be helpful. The ideas at the root of Buddhism serve as not just a religion but also as a philosophy that can fit into any spiritual belief or practices.

For example,

accepting reality as it is, not as you would like it to be.

It sounds so simple but in practice it can be super challenging. So often we spend so much time fighting with, or trying to figure out a solution to what is actually just a reality that needs to be accepted. I'd say the most common experiences of this often occur in a workplace, or a relationship.

I'll give you sort of an extreme specific example. I often have clients who are navigating challenging relationships with people who likely suffer from what I view as one of the few psych diagnoses' worth labeling - that of personality disorders. My take on personality disorders is that they are characterized by a deep-rooted insecurity that prevents someone from being able to hear any feedback or criticism, even if it comes from a loving place, taking things personally to an extreme, an inability to take responsibility for their actions and how they impact others, and easily and frequently placing blame on others for any problems including their own. I believe it's a very well-crafted system of defense, at its root.

Part of having a personality disorder is literally being unable to take responsibility for your contribution to relationship challenges. Without being able to do this, it can be extremely challenging for change to happen. People in this person's life want change, might expect it, or be constantly frustrated that the person is behaving in certain seemingly unreasonable ways. A major step to support oneself to let go of frustration, resentment, disappointment, and control when you have someone who has the above-mentioned characteristics in your life is to accept the reality of that person's mental and emotional health, and what they are and are not capable of due to this level of health. If you do not accept this reality as it is - you will likely find yourself frustrated, scheming and planning trying to find a way around the inevitable, surprised, confused and angry each time they behave in ways that are actually in alignment with their characteristics.

Now, folks we are challenged by in our lives do not always necessarily have a personality disorder. However, I see this fighting of reality done to different extents. Often we have a hard time accepting people's actual level of emotional health and maturity. We try to navigate our relationships with them based on what and who we WISH they were, instead of seeing them clearly and meeting them where they are at. Because as much as we wish we could relate to them differently, it doesn't make sense and causes much more distress than to accept the reality as it is, and work WITHIN that reality. Catch my drift?

Relationships with folks who challenge us is just one of the ways we tend to fight reality. Sometimes we fight our own mental health experience, and the self-care that we actually need. Sometimes we fight or try to figure out a solution to something in our lives that really just needs a level of acceptance. Sometimes that acceptance needs some space for grief.

Hope something in this he


s you find some clarity or peace!

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