This is a guest post by Lisa Shoreland. Lisa is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching nursing grants as well as Stafford loans. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.
Individuals who have undergone radical acceptance describe the experience as being liberating, as if seeing clearly after drowning in a thick fog.
The term refers to a skill taught within dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder.
today it’s used to help sexual abuse survivors, disordered eaters, and individuals suffering from mood disorders, self-injury, chemical dependencies, and other ailments. DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation with Buddhism-derived concepts such as tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness.
Radically Accepting Yourself
So, what does radical acceptance really mean to you?
Everyone has problems. Everyone has undergone some manner of suffering. No matter the incident, what is small to one may be life-changing for another, and everyone’s suffering is valid. This point alone may cause stumbling, but radical acceptance goes a step further.
By definition, radical acceptance means to let go of fighting reality and to accept one’s situation as it is. This situation can range from being overweight to having cancer, from having fought with one’s significant other or being abandoned by a parent. It takes into consideration the suffering we cause ourselves. Most of us fumble day after day in what-ifs and I-wishes, trying to dip our toes in waters that are real nowhere but in our heads and hearts. “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes,” Mark Twain said, “most of which never happened.”
Radical acceptance is not about washing away our cares and suffering by saying they don’t matter. There is no judgment, only that it is. Radical acceptance is saying, “Even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
This is no easy feat, but try it yourself.
The Steps to Radical Acceptance
Combine radical acceptance with a piece of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) involving nothing more than your hands. EFT is a form of alternative psychotherapy that, whether through energy manipulation as proponents claim or the placebo effect as skeptics dismiss, can bring you closer to radical acceptance.
1 Either aloud or silently to yourself, say the affirmation:
Even though I ____, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Fill the blank with a problem you are currently facing, such as a fear, a craving, anger, etc.
2 Say the affirmation three times while tapping the fleshy part of the outside of your dominant hand between your wrist and the base of the little finger. Use the tips of the index and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand to tap the point on your dominant hand. The action will bring your focus to what is current and real, taking you farther away from your perceived problems.
Follow these steps every day at least once, perhaps when you get out of bed or before you fall asleep, or each time you begin to feel a what-if or I-wish coming on.