Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #11*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Self-acceptance is the greatest change a person can make.


Sorry to be super brief today on such an important topic, but desperately pressed for time due to my upcoming trip next week for the Canada intensive. See below if you think you might want to attend! The intensives are usually great experiences. If you can’t make the Canadian intensive in July, think about the San Francisco intensive in August.

Some of us struggle with perfectionism, thinking we can become something GREAT if we just try hard enough and beat up on ourselves when we fall short or screw up. But this can sometimes be the cause of nearly all of our suffering.

Still, we don’t want to accept our flawed selves because we don’t want to “settle” for second best, because that sounds just awful! But when you accept yourself, that’s when the magic happens.

In my Stanford Tuesday training group last night, one of the participants revealed her fear of speaking up or role-playing a technique in group for fear she might not be “good enough,” and then feared that everyone in the group will judge or dislike her. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. Paradoxically, revealing her vulnerability made everyone feel incredibly close to her, and she set the tone for an evening of magical training. And all she did was to reveal her fears, flaws, and insecurities.

As many of you know, I learned an important lesson from my wonderful cat, Obie. He’s the one who taught me that “when you no longer need to be special, life becomes special!”

More later, sorry to offer so little right now. Obie and I deeply apologize!

Obie 1



* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

Hey, folks, my summer intensives are nearly always my BEST training programs of the year, and they are almost upon us. Here are the specifics:

Coming in Canada in July

Advanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
A Four-Day Intensive Training in TEAM-CBT

July 3 – 6, 2018 Whistler, BC, Canada

For more information, contact Jack Hirose & Associates Inc.
Phone: 604.924.0296, Toll-free: 1.800.456.5424

* * *

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider an intensive! They are


Register right away if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in Whistler in July or San Francisco in August!


12 thoughts on “Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #11*

  1. Hi David,

    Thankyou for the short and informative note. For accepting ourselves we don’t have to accept our anxious feelings and behaviour that go with it, right? Thats why we try to change it. But, there is a contradiction when we accept to recieve the anxiety we create, I am thinking this is the first step before we even acknowledge that we have anxiety or are anxious. And the follow on step is to correct it. Probably the later part is paradox☺


    • Thank you Rajesh. I am a bit confused by your note. Part of the treatment of anxiety is exposure, which means facing your fears and accepting the anxiety, which usually diminishes and disappears after a period of exposure. The refusal to accept anxiety, the effort to avoid it or control it, can sometimes make the anxiety more intense. Not sure if this is what you were referring to, however. david

  2. Thanks David for your kind response eventhough my thoughts were not presented in an articulated way.
    I think what I was trying to draw out was the philosophy of self acceptance in the context of anxious feelings and behaviour. Self acceptance I thought is accepting ourselves unconditionally but, rejecting our negative feelings and behaviour because they are against our goals to feel healthy. So, we dont like them. Doesn’t rejection of such feelings help us work towards trying to change it?
    On the other hand while during an anxious moment, You rightly said that when we try to control anxiety it increases. probably more so when the degree of anxiety is more. Hence accept to recieve the anxiety during exposure and burn it. When its degree is less I think confronting or thought challenging helps. Is that the right approach based on the intensity of anxiety?

    • Thank you Rajesh. Sadly, the dialogue is too abstract for me to get a handle on it. I am so used to working with people at one moment when they felt upset, and then using a variety of methods to help them change the way they think and feel. The Acceptance Paradox is one of 50 or 100 methods I use. Sometimes it leads to incredible changes, and sometimes other approaches are effective. I apologize for not being able to give you a better answer, as I am a bit confused right now. d

      • Hi Dr. Burns. I had a simliar question on your tuesday tip. I’m kinda confused too. But I think its like this:
        I’m anxious because i feel like “I should be confident on social gatherings” or something like that. If i had decided to control this feeling, this will cause more anxiety. But if I accept it, probably my anxiety will go down. But that doesn’t mean that I’m happy with my anxiety in fact, I want to get rid of it. So I’m conscious of the harm that the anxiety had has on me. I accept it as something I don’t have control, but I reject as something that has stop me to grow. That’s what I think. Please when you have time do a blog post or a podcast about it. I’m still struggling with this theme. Thank you. Joshua.

      • You might want to read my book, When Panic Attacks, and follow the approaches I describe for dealing with any type of anxiety, such as the Daily Mood Log and so forth. Also, I have a good chapter, I think, on social anxiety in my Feeling Good Handbook. Both are available on or any online book seller. Thanks so much! david

  3. I disagree Sir! The kind of work you do I think You are much more productive than people half your age ☺.
    Also, we all have our own patterns of thinking and it takes time to map others patterns, more so if they are unusual to that of our own and then come to some conclusion. 🙏

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