The Meaning of Life

“To decide whether life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy.” – Albert Camus

How do you like THAT for an opening?

I have two intakes for new DBT students this week. I start teaching again in about five weeks. It has gotten my head thinking of how to vary my presentation a bit.

I realized I have not emphasized the stated goal of DBT training. It is to help people create a life worth living. When I looked up “life worth living” I found Camus. Whoa. Heavy. Deep.

Camus – apparently, I have never read his work –  talks about the biggies. He questions who we are, where and even whether we can find meaning (remember Viktor Frankl?)  and what we can really know about ourselves and the world. Like I said: Heavy. Very deep.

Let’s paddle back up to the shallow end of the pool and see how any of this might relate to us and DBT. What I found was a sort of superficial resemblance. DBT does not hit the existential questions. After skimming a lot of articles I pretty much decided a life worth living in DBT terms is whatever you decide it should be! Whatever floats your boat. Whatever makes you happy. You get the drift.

The thing is, DBT was devised to help some pretty desperate people. These were and are people who have lives so out of control they have been repeatedly suicidal. They have discovered the skills they do have do not work in the greater world. They are pretty much adrift…..and I am using a LOT of water references!

The thought of being rudderless (giggle, giggle. Forgive me. I know I am shameless) brought me to a bit of an epiphany: DBT is about putting the client in control of his own life! It teaches skill in the important areas (at least to Linehan). DBT teaches control of your own mental and emotional being through mindfulness. It further teaches emotional self-control through emotional regulation. Clients gain power over their social relationships through interpersonal effectiveness and they learn to weather the storm better through distress tolerance. All pretty good stuff. Where it takes you is up to you and what you value.

The question then, I assume, becomes a question not of the meaning of life but of how we can meet our own personal goals so we can get satisfaction out of life.

Another quote:

“There may be constraints on what your life can look like, but there are no constraints on whether your life is worth living.” – Marsha Linehan

In other words, we may not be able to accomplish everything we used to or would like to accomplish with AMD but we can find ways to control our beings and relationship with the world. We can still get some satisfaction out of life. Still want to BE here. DBT teaches many of the skills we need to have that happen.

Another quote (actually a quote of a paraphrase):
“The demand for happiness and the patient quest of it….isn’t a luxury or a mere need but an existential duty.” (Brian Pickings paraphrasing Camus)

There it is. Go out and seek a life worth living even with your limitations. You would not want to disappoint Camus; would you?

Next: A Truce

Home

 

Ratings

  • Rate this
  • Summary
Current Average Ratings
Overall quality
Avg: 0/5
Applies to topic
Avg: 0/5
Helpful to me
Avg: 0/5
The Meaning of Life
Total Avg Rating: 0.00 out of 5 with based on 0 rating(s)
Overall quality
Applies to topic
Helpful to me