Consider a situation you feel completely powerless over. When a problem is not in our control, we may fight against it, judge it, judge ourselves for judging it, and perpetuate a cycle of pain and misery.
When reality hurts, we often engage in behaviors to "escape," whether externally (i.e. drinking, overeating, using drugs) or internally (i.e. engaging in fantasy). These ways of coping offer a temporary escape, but ultimately sabotage our inner peace, our health and our relationships.
Radical Acceptance is a tool utilized to address underlying challenges through letting go, acknowledgment and tolerating the discomfort of our powerlessness. It is not an easy task - however, it allows us to reclaim our power and reframe our challenges in a more manageable way.
Radical acceptance is NOT:
- Judging yourself, or being overly critical.
- Avoiding conflict in order to "keep the peace"
- Ignoring your own needs or giving in to appease others
What are some ways you can start inviting radical acceptance in your life?
1. Practicing positive affirmations:
“The present moment is perfect just as it is”
"I accept and embrace reality"
"I accept my life the way it is"
2. Learning to pause:
Focus on your breathing or take a walk. Notice your feelings without assigning any judgment to them, simply acknowledging them and reminding yourself that difficult feelings are temporary.
3. Responding to difficult feelings with curiosity:
"How can I reframe this situation?"
"What part of this can I be grateful for?"
Gratitude is a transformational tool when it comes to developing radical acceptance - when we are grateful, we develop greater acceptance and growth. When we practice gratitude, even our most difficult and painful emotions are our teachers - they help propel us toward becoming the greatest version of ourselves.