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Below I have written a brief poem about the concept of behavior modification. When I say this term, I am talking about the idea of changing negative behaviors to healthy behaviors to positively impact mental health. Behavior modification has been shown to be highly beneficial for people experiencing depression. But if we are being honest, when in the throes of depression, changing behavior can feel like a ginormous road block. I reflected on the internal tug of war that can happen when attempting to change behavior in this poem.

Behavior Modification:

Defined as taking steps to get back to what feels right

To a groove that swings me back into the light

So my actions align with my beliefs and I don’t feel stuck

Taking hold of the reigns instead of relying on luck

People like me tend to assume

That “trying” fixes our problems

Try this and try that

And I’ll be better, I’ll blossom

But life isn’t always so breezy

That person over there makes it look so easy

Behavior Modification has a place

It shouldn’t just be for fixing the bad

But a launching pad

To exploring potential

And finding what is essential

It would be sad to say that we are in a mold

That no amount of bold could change the patterns of old

We want to be believe that changing what we do

Matters so we aren’t stuck in our habits like glue

Behavior modification is here to say

That you have control over how you spend your day

We are trying to keep and carve away

Many things in our personality array

Increase or decrease that stimulus

So that we can move towards a more centered bliss

We can take behavior modification too far

And set way too high of a bar

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t change

Or why my five-step plan drove me insane

We use it as a tool but it isn’t bullet proof

We are human, we fail and we try to improve

Modifying our behavior is a good first move

But knowing what we believe helps us prove

To ourselves and others that principles comes first

When practicality sometimes feels coerced

A life spent grieving over failures

Is a life spent trying to erase the picture

That God is drawing in pen on your life

It will never work and satisfy

We will struggle and fail and that is why

Our observable and measurable life

Is a mix of emotions, solutions and lies

We need to see how God’s ink pen

Draws jagged lines again and again

And our zoomed in mind cannot see

The jagged lines draw the cross where we kneel and plea

That God would have grace when our behaviors feel wrong

Please Lord help us instead sing a song

A tune that knows that seeing oneself as a failure in this world

Is scribbling over the art of God; the sand turned into a pearl

Help me to rest and know that it isn’t all on me

But also to work hard and try to be

The child that falls but then stands back up

And knows that really being grown-up

Is not easy and wasn’t meant to be

And instead of getting angry

I will use the tools I have learned in life’s class

And bend a knee and find hands to clasp

To pray and do my best

And not let my joy be contingent on the grade I get on life’s tests

But whether or not I learned and progressed