What is Radical Acceptance & Why Should You Embrace It?

What is Radical Acceptance & Why Should You Embrace It?

Radical Acceptance for yourself

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How often have you had a poor day or been disappointed in yourself and other people, feeling helpless, irritated, furious, and unhappy but unable to change the situation? How often have you said to yourself, “Well, it is what it is,” and then let it go? Did that make you feel good or did you feel something else?

How the World Around Us Can Shape Our Moods & Mentality

Many of us tend to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors and reduce the likelihood that we will achieve success and experience happiness. We inherit our core beliefs and self-perception from our parents or caregivers. Negative thinking patterns and self-limiting beliefs we acquire in childhood can contribute significantly to the self-sabotaging behaviors we engage in daily.

These self-sabotaging patterns can hurt your mental and physical health, make it difficult to get along with others and keep you from living a fulfilling life.

However, because these destructive behavior patterns are learned, it is possible to unlearn them and replace them with healthier patterns of behavior that encourage personal development.

Radical acceptance may be the first step toward making a positive change. Keep reading to learn what is radical honesty, how to cultivate it in your life, and the powerful potential it can offer.

What is Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance is a core principle of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a modality of cognitive-behavioral therapy that Dr. Marsha Linehan developed in the early 1990s to help women with borderline personality disorder who engaged in self-harming behavior but did not have suicidal intentions.

DBT emphasizes mindfulness, teaching clients how to be present in the moment and sensitive to their own emotional condition. The goal is to help clients develop techniques for better managing strong emotions, reducing dysfunctional and self-destructive behaviors, and improving relationships.

Radical acceptance is a strategy that can help you both accept the reality of your life and make necessary changes in it. It involves accepting yourself, others, and life wholly and entirely, without judgment, conditions, or doubts. Accepting situations that are outside of your control can significantly reduce the suffering caused by those situations.

It can be a powerful tool when facing challenges in life and wanting to make a change so you can start living a more authentic life.

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What Does Radical Acceptance NOT Mean?

Radical acceptance involves acknowledging the situation for what it is without necessarily agreeing with it. For instance, radical acceptance would entail admitting the truth about your abusive relationship and not living in denial about it. Nevertheless, this does not imply continuing to be in that relationship.

After you have come to terms with limiting beliefs about yourself, dysfunctional patterns in your relationships, or any other harmful aspect of your life, you will feel more empowered to address the problem and move forward with your life.

accept who you are with radical acceptance

How Can Radical Acceptance Be Helpful?

Radical acceptance frees you from feeling victimized, resentful, ashamed, or hopeless. While you cannot prevent bad things from happening, you can learn to accept them for what they are rather than dwelling on the “what-ifs,” “shoulds,” and “mustn’ts” of your life.

Radical acceptance lets you focus on the present, tune into your feelings, notice self-destructive behaviors, and start changing them.

When Can Radical Acceptance Be Applied?

Therapists use radical acceptance to help clients:

  • Overcome self-limiting behaviors
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Identify and change self-sabotaging behaviors
  • Respond to stressful situations constructively
  • Alleviate feelings of resentment, disappointment, and powerlessness
  • Reduce substance use and prevent relapse
  • Cope with eating disorders
  • Reduce chronic pain

Radical acceptance might be beneficial when you’re feeling stuck in life and helpless about the future, carrying grudges, or having difficulties getting along with people.

How to Embrace Radical Acceptance (5 Steps)?

Here are the five steps to discovering the powerful potential that radical acceptance can bring and how to cultivate it in your life.

1) Pay Attention to Your Resistance Triggers

Use journaling to spot triggers that provoke thoughts such as “this should not be happening,” “why me?” or “this is not fair.” Once you become aware of what makes you question or resist reality, you may be able to break free from the anger, bitterness, and sadness that keep you stuck.

2) Let Go of Judgment

Use mindfulness, self-compassion, and affirmations to accept the unpleasant reality instead of spending energy on blame, self-blame, judgment, and resentment. Understand that radical acceptance is a choice you are entirely free to make over and over again.

3) Evaluate and Try to Understand What Led to Your Situation

List all of the thoughts or behaviors that have contributed to your situation. Even though you cannot change what happened, you can turn your experience into a valuable life lesson and feel empowered to make changes.

4) Be Mindful of How Your Mental Stress Can Cause Physical Stress

Resistance and resentment often cause muscle stiffness, headaches, hypertension, and other physical concerns. Practice relaxation to reduce stress and relax your body. This can also improve your mood and alleviate anxiety.

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5) Allow Yourself to Visualize and Practice Acceptance

Visualization is a powerful way to plant the idea of radical acceptance in your subconscious mind. Imagine yourself as though you have already accepted the reality you have trouble accepting.

Radical Acceptance Can Help You Move Forward and Find Peace

Radical acceptance allows you to adopt an entirely new perspective about yourself, other people, and your life by accepting things on a radical level with no judgment. As such, it is a powerful tool to make peace with your past and your pain and move forward.

To discover what is radical honesty and how you can apply its concepts into your daily life, contact me to set up a free empowering conversation.

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