top of page

Chukas-Balak: Searching for a Synthesis


One of the tenets of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is that it is important to find the synthesis between seemingly disparate ideas. For example, while self-validation and self-compassion are important, one must also recognize when what sounds like self-esteem is really a front for self-aggrandizement. Though human beings require a sense of self-efficacy and self-worth to thrive, we are also susceptible to the dangers of thinking too highly of ourselves, which can impact our relationship with others and affect our behavior in countless ways. A mental health buzzword these days, self-love is a necessary component to loving others, as is highlighted in the commandment of V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha (Vayikra 19:18). At the same time, we need to be able to act gently and with humility, to validate others, and to recognize our flaws. Self-love is not a carte blanche for selfishness, and achieving this balance is the tipping point of success, meaning, and spiritual growth. Self-esteem is often polarized for individuals when they start therapy. Some enter therapy with negative, self-critical inner dialogues, and insist that if they were to stop being overly harsh and extreme in their self-talk, they would become lazy and unmotivated. It takes these individuals