Dialectical thinking allows you to examine a situation from multiple angles in order to get closer to the truth, no matter how messy or complicated that truth may be.
We may label some things as “bad” and others as “good,” or regard some people as “right” and others as “wrong.” We may feel compelled to choose between ‘this way’ and ‘that way.’
The truth is that life is far more nuanced than that. And this is where dialectical reasoning comes into play.
Dialectical thinking has educational values that have largely gone unnoticed by researchers and educators.
What is Dialectical thinking?
As the name implies, dialectical refers to the balance of opposing forces. Marsha Linehan defines dialectical as a synthesis or integration of opposites, which can be translated as two or more harmful things being true at the same time.
Individuals are accustomed to thinking about things in a straightforward manner. Some refer to it as “Black and White” thinking. We either react to something or do things in one of two ways. We can feel Sad or Happy, Lively or Depressed, Strong or Weak, and so on.
Dialectical thinking encourages us to look beyond one-sided perspectives. The ground options may appear to be far apart, but they can combine to provide the best solution. To compare and contrast options, dialectical thinking employs the word “AND” rather than the word “BUT.”
It enables you to accept two seemingly contradictory ideas as part of the same truth. Because you are not forcing yourself to ignore conflicting feelings or ideas, you can remain open-minded and curious.
Dialectical thinking is a type of analytical reasoning that seeks knowledge and truth whenever there are questions or conflicts. One impediment to its use is that it is easily abused; most modern applications of the dialectical paradigm known as the “Socratic Method” are essentially dialectical thinking abuses.
Students are taught in an explicit teaching model, through direct example (and non-example), that seemingly opposing views of reality can be reconciled into meaning more reasonable than either of the seemingly opposing views. Dialectical thinking is defined as seeing things from various angles.
A fundamental principle of dialectical thinking is that everything is made up of opposites and that in order to fully comprehend something, we must first comprehend its polar opposite.
Benefits of Dialectical Thinking
When you start thinking dialectically, you start acting dialectically, which can be a game-changer. The following are a few of the advantages of dialectic thinking.
- You start to see the big picture, which allows you to plan ahead of time and make more informed decisions.
- You become more adaptable and resilient as a result.
- You become more emphatic with others and with yourself.
- It will be easier for you to practice nonviolent communication and improve your listening skills, which will improve your relationships even more.
- You become more responsive rather than reactive.
- You gain more control over your thoughts and emotions. This aids in the development of emotional intelligence.
- Your conscious mind develops, as do your cognitive abilities. You will also become more self-conscious.
- You begin to think outside the box as you realize there are multiple solutions to a problem. This also contributes to your creativity.
- You begin to concentrate on the solutions rather than the problem.
- Instead of clinging to rigid beliefs and ideas, you become open to learning and growing.
- Instead of blaming others, you begin to take responsibility for your own life. This is the foundation of personal development.
- Because you are not thinking or acting in extremes, you bring more balance and wisdom into your life.
- It aids in the balancing of thoughts. It also helps you avoid being a one-sided thinker.
- It allows for new ideas.
- Furthermore, it prevents incorrect conclusions.
- It aids in the discovery of ideas, thoughts, and conclusions that make life easier.
- It reduces the risk of becoming overly emotional
Examples of Dialectical Thinking
As stated earlier, dialectical thinking entails weighing two opposing conclusions. Love and hate are two excellent examples of this. We’ve all heard stories about people who got engaged and married to people they despise.
They initially despise the person, but persistent thinking and balancing thoughts disproved some of their assumptions about that person.
Moving on and becoming depressed is another example. We are all aware that depression exists, but it is not the best option for them.
They may be depressed, and it may appear that everything has been done, but there is always a way out. There are numerous examples of dialectical thinking, a few are further mentioned below.
- I am strong… but also vulnerable.
- You can be afraid… and courageous all at the same time.
- You feel like you can’t go on… but you do.
- You can be intelligent while also lacking self-awareness.
- I want to change… but I’m afraid to.
- You are pleased with yourself… but want to improve.
- I’m doing my best… and I need to try harder.
- I am capable… but I require assistance.
- You appreciate the finer things in life… and do not take the little things for granted.
- I can love someone while also hurting them.
- I adore my partner… and I betrayed them.
- I despise what someone did to me… but I still love them.
- I am furious with you… and I will treat you with dignity.
- You can care deeply about someone… and still not want them in your life.
- You are pleased for someone… and envious of them.
- I am delighted for you… but sad for myself.
- You can be sorry for something and not be sorry for it.
- I respect and accept the opinions of others… but I also have my own beliefs.
- You can accept someone while also disagreeing with them.
- I disagree with you… but I understand your point of view.
- You want to be sober… but also get drunk/high.
- You have strong cravings… but you don’t want to get drunk/high.
- I had a bad childhood… but I can live a happy life.
- What happened was not okay… but you can learn from it and move on.
- I did not cause all of my problems… and I must resolve them.
How can one practice Dialectical Thinking in your daily life?
Understand dialectical thinking thoroughly: You cannot do what you do not understand. The most important thing to remember is that you must understand what it means. You may not know everything there is to know about it, but you must not be a complete novice.
Be open to new ideas: Dialectical thinking does not accept a conclusion as absolute and final. It delves deeper into the subject to determine whether there are any gaps in what is known about the overall situation.
Create a compromise (Synthesis) between acceptance and change: Finding the right balance between acceptance and growth is critical in dialectical thinking. You have to be ready to learn new things, you must be willing to unlearn some things. Dialectical thinking requires striking a balance between change and acceptance.
Use dialectical thinking in your daily activities: You must practice dialectical thinking before you can mature into one. You must not jump to conclusions without first balancing both of your conflicting decisions.
Observing your thoughts is one of the simplest ways to develop dialectic thinking. In other words, begin to examine your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, ideas, and perceptions through the eyes of a third party. When you do this, you are essentially engaging your conscious mind in order to question your unconscious thoughts and beliefs.
Observing your thoughts in this manner will be difficult at first. So the best approach is to begin slowly. Begin by analyzing one rigid belief you have in your mind and attempting to see it from a different angle. The more you practice this, the easier it will be to switch to dialectic thinking into second nature. Meditation and mindfulness can both be extremely beneficial tools for personal development.
A final thought
How can someone want to be a mother but not have children? It’s natural to have conflicting emotions about a situation. And, with dialectical thinking, you don’t have to pick one and ignore the others.
You can hold both at the same time. This can help us be more open-minded because we don’t feel as compelled to defend our positions as vehemently.
Instead, we listen to other people’s ideas with interest to see if they help us develop our own. We will broaden our minds and improve our lives if we stop trying to ‘be right’ or ‘win,’ and instead welcome new perspectives into our lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
- In DBT, what is dialectical thinking?
DBT’s “D” stanThreeds for dialectic. A dialectic is based on the idea that everything is made up of opposites and that change occurs when opposing ends communicate. assumptions are made during the process: Everything is interconnected. Change is both constant and unavoidable.
- In psychology, what is dialectic?
In general, any examination of the truth of ideas through the juxtaposition of opposing or contradictory viewpoints. 2. the Socratic conversational mode of argument in which knowledge is sought through a process of question and answer
- How do you interpret dialectical thinking?
Dialectical thinking is defined as seeing things from various angles. Everything is composed, according to a fundamental principle of dialectical thinking.