DBT And The D.E.A.R. M.A.N.

As many readers know, I have been studying DBT and Mindfulness extensively over the past several months. Today I wanted to present an outline and opinion one of DBT’s more popular acronyms and subjects. It’s my view, based on my own learning and experiences.

When looking for the best ways to express ourselves clearly, whether it’s our wants, needs, or desires, we can look to the acronym D.E.A.R. M.A.N. to be our guide.

It’s a main go to guide for Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills in the fields of Mindfulness, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

We can learn a lot from DEAR MAN. So let’s learn more about this, and see how we can improve our communicating. From doing my own research on this, I have already found it to be helpful to the way I conduct myself, via explaining, responding, choosing the best vocabulary, tone, composure, and being straight forward and with honesty.

First, it’s Describe, letter D. It’s all about keeping things clear and concise. It’s about following a road that isn’t passive aggressive. Say what you mean. Don’t beat around the bush. We can’t always sit and wait, hoping that others are mind readers. If we need help, we need to speak up. Don’t ask “can you please mow the lawn someday soon?” instead, ask, “can you please mow the lawn tomorrow?

From working on our practicing of Describing, it takes us then right into how we Express ourselves. Much of letter E is about making others aware of how we feel. Expressing our feelings and emotions. Again, just like with Describe, with Express, we also have to be aware that we cannot wait around expecting others to be mind readers. If somebody has upset or offended you, then make that clear to them.

Tell it like it is. This is a situation again, where we can’t allow passive aggressiveness to take over.

Many with anger, will mumble to themselves, give off attitudes with no explanations, bang pots and pans around the kitchen, slam door, etc etc. None of this proving to do any ounce of good.

The first letter A, of this acronym represents Assert. In any scenario, we have to realize the truth, that, if we can rely on ourselves to assert ourselves, or stand up for what we want, and or what we deserve, then who can we ever depend on? We have to be at a point in life, where our absolute best advocate is us, and always us. Besides advocating, we have to get to a steady point mentally, where we need to be #1 when it comes to sticking up for ourselves, fighting for each and every chance to get what we’ve worked very hard to get.

Not to mistake this with entitlement, because entitlement involves of just handing things over to each other, deserved or not. What I’m talking about is being our own best defender and advocator. We may not get every single big, or good break that we got coming. But, if we don’t at least fight, then what break will we ever get?

What we do next with the letter R, is for Reinforcing, and Rewarding the people who respond to us in a positive manner. It also represents a goal for us which is about being able to present to others why something is the best (most positive) & it can cover any number of of scenarios.

One example that comes to my mind is the following; If I were an engineer, and I was proposing to a town or city that a railroad warning system be installed on a very old once abandoned train track crossing over a main road, because a new rail company is re activating that route. Now, the positive result is quite obvious. The proposal is positive because it will prevent train crashes with motor vehicles and pedestrians. Though obvious, it’s just an example.

As you can see, it’s a scenario that can cover an abundant amount of topics. It all just points to being able to present and defend our reasons for ideas or proposed plans.

From there we have to keep it fresh in our minds what our purpose, ideas, and or mission may be behind the conversation, proposal, or presentation. That is where being Mindful, comes in, as it represents the letter M of Dear Man. Sometimes, things easily get distracted, and quickly start becoming unproductive. Stay on the topic, and avoid veering out of focus, as that can then risk things turning into misunderstanding, or incorrect assumptions. All of a sudden, we then have people being offended, when there really was not any logical reason for any feeling of offense.

We need to keep in mind that our physical nature can give off vibes, even if only on the very subconscious level of either side. It’s become clear and true that it does matter how we Appear on the outside. That is where the letter A in DEAR MAN comes in. With that word Appear, comes another word strongly connected to this part, and that Confident. It may not have its letter C represented in the acronym, but, nonetheless, the way we must strive to appear, is confident.

Besides being confident, keep in mind the vibes any of your body language may be giving off.

I have always been a strong believer in a couple ol school techniques. Those being a firm handshake, and making eye contact. It’s been long known now that those who keep eye contact are perceived to be telling the truth. Someone may be much more apt to listen to you, if they think you’re telling the truth.

So. I have dissected D.E.A.R. M.A.N. decently well I’d say. So what’s left? Well, for one thing, we have to remember that our minds must remain open.

Closed mindedness can happen to any of us and often times the person with the closed mind may not be aware. Plus not to mention that just as often, I think people may not feel comfortable calling it out, or making the person aware. This could be for many reasons, but the biggest reason is the many people just do not want to create a conflict.

So, onto to the final letter of the acronym; letter N. Like I just mentioned, keep our minds open, and be willing to Negotiate. That includes remaining open for suggestions. Don’t be offended if somebody respectfully corrects you.

When small conflicts arise, consider compromise.

That folks, is my take of the well known DBT & Mindfulness acronym called=

D.E.A.R. M.A.N.



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Michael Patanella

Michael Patanella


Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things. MichaelPatanella.medium.com