What is something you used to love to do that you no longer do? For me, it’s ice skating, as I used to be a figure skater. In the past 15 years since I stopped taking lessons, I have always tried to find someone to come with me to get back on the ice. This was surprisingly challenging to do as most people are either too nervous to skate, don’t want to skate, or are only open to going one time and then never again. I often asked myself, “Why don’t I just go alone?” Unfortunately, I was too nervous to be on the ice without someone else with me. I went alone when I was a kid, so why are things different now that I am an adult?
One Sunday afternoon when I was not feeling my best, I thought to myself, how can I accumulate positive emotions in the short term by doing something I love? This is an emotion regulation DBT skill that involves increasing pleasant events that lead to positive emotions. I began brainstorming what I could do to put this skill into action, and realized, “It’s been a year since I’ve gone ice skating. Should I go?”
I immediately looked up skating times and saw public skating at 6:00pm that Sunday night. Almost immediately, the thought of “I don’t want to go by myself” entered my mind. I then remembered another DBT skill encouraging me to practice opposite action and to stop ‘avoiding avoiding’ the idea of going alone. I decided to purchase my ticket online, grabbed my skates, and began the drive to the ice rink. The moment I put my skates on the ice, I began to feel a sense of pure happiness. I was not thinking about anything beyond where I was in that moment, which allowed me to be mindful of the joy I was experiencing in that moment.
As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but feel overcome by how positive my ice skating experience was. It was an unfamiliar feeling, possibly because I could not remember the last time I had done something like this.
Fast forward to present day…. I bought myself new skates and skating tights, and I now go to the rink every Friday morning. Thanks to the skills taught in DBT, I do something every week that I have wanted to do for so many years. I will forever keep this experience in the back of my mind, especially when I want to avoid doing something I know will accumulate positive emotions in the end. It might feel more comfortable to avoid, but avoid avoiding sure will be worth it. So, I’ll ask the same question I posed at the start, “What is something you used to love to do that you no longer do? (and now go on, get out there and do whatever that may be this week!!).