How do we cope in the wake of adversity, pain, loss? As we know, we each cope differently and we each cope in a way which feels right to us at the time. After the emotions surrounding the situation have abated, we tend to look back on the situation we just experienced.  We want to explore what just happened, what we did during the situation and how we managed. Sometimes we do this by observing what others have done or what we did to manage in similar situations in the past. We want to find ways that result in a less painful outcome in the future.What we notice, when observing others and the ways in which they cope, is that some may avoid, deny, or become stuck in patterns of feeling like a victim while others may do something else. Others may have made the choice to recognize the ‘good’ in the situation. This choice occurs even though the outcome didn’t turn out the way they wanted nor did they feel that they ‘got what they deserved’.Their choice may have been to ask for help or to change the direction they were going in or even  to appreciate what they had in that moment. Learning new patterns are not easy and we know that change is hard. Yet, continuing to cope in same way has now become far too painful. So, we set out to use skills and ‘do better’ next time.One way to ‘do better’ is to use dialectical thinking. This means thinking about both sides of the situation – the good and the bad instead of seeing and steeping in just one side or the other. Dialects is defined as two opposite ideas which occur at the same time, in this moment with neither one being ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’. By using dialectical thinking, we are working to create a balance between these two opposite ideas, thoughts, or feelings.The idea of creating a balance can be helpful and effective during stressful times.  However, it may feel virtually impossible to do when first learning to identify the dialectic. This is especially true when we are working to cope during a painful or stressful time. Even being asked to see the other side of the situation, let alone having the willingness to see the ‘good vs bad’, seems incredibly challenging and difficult.As with any DBT skill, identifying and being able to think dialectically takes practice. It feels awkward at first (trust me – I know because I use this skill too). When first learning and using this skill, it felt like I was wearing someone else’s clothes: uncomfortable, awkward and certainly not my own. Over time and with practice, using dialectical thinking has become easier and it has helped me to cope effectively in some very stressful and painful situations. Using dialectical thinking has allotted me options that I may not have otherwise had. In most situations now, I am able to identify the opposite and to see the positive no matter how arduous, painful or stressful.This means we have a new way in which to cope. We no longer have to remain rooted in our myopic view. We can work on seeing both sides of the situation – that, even if the situation feels heinous and harrowing, we are becoming more skillful and effective.