Written by Karyn Hall

May 23, 2021

DEAR Man is a DBT skill for expressing what you want to someone else. I’ve found that DEAR Man also works for setting an intention, something you want from yourself.

Setting an intention is being clear with yourself and giving yourself a map of where you wish to go. It’s focusing your energy on what is valuable to you.

If I have a goal, perhaps I want to be more assertive. I can tell myself, “I will be more assertive” and it might work to some extent. But setting an intention is more likely to keep me focused. Here’s how to use DEAR Man to set an intention for yourself.

D        Describe. What is it you want? Describe it clearly and specifically. Just the facts here.

Example:  I allow myself to give in to others and not make decisions that are most effective for me or that fit my goals, especially when the other person is upset. I want to make decisions that will work for me and get me to my goals.

E         Express.  What are the emotions that go with what you want?

Example:  I am upset with myself over and over when I don’t stick to what I know is right and I am disappointed when I don’t achieve the goals I set. This adds suffering to my life.

A         Ask.  What is it that you want yourself to do?  What is the first step toward getting what you want?

Example:  I want to write down my intention to remind me of my focus. Then I want to assert my own thoughts and do what I know is right, and carry that with me. I want to practice in the moment and ask a friend to hold me accountable. I’ll track it so I can see my progress and I accept that I won’t be perfect at it.

R          Reinforce.  How will this be good for you?  If I do this, I’ll be happier in my life, more successful in my work, and have more of a sense of self-control

M          Stay Mindful

Example:  I will be mindful that there will be ups and downs. To help me stay mindful I’ll review this DEAR Man several times each day.

A          Act Confident

Example:  I know I can do this, however long it takes. When I am speaking my truth, I will act confident as I know people are more likely to listen if I act confident.

N         Negotiate

If this step doesn’t work well, I am willing to come back to myself and figure out another step. I acknowledge that I can’t know what will work for me until I try it. If it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. It means I need another option or need to add to my plan

Live a skill-full life

Download DEARMAN Infograph

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