What is radical acceptance?
“Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging” – Marsha M. Linehan
Radical acceptance is founded on the idea that suffering is caused by one’s attachment to the pain rather than by the pain itself.
Rather than being bound by a painful past, radical acceptance indicates that the key to overcome suffering is non-attachment. Non-attachment does not imply that you are not aware of your feelings. Rather, it relates to a desire to keep pain from turning into suffering. This entails keeping an eye on your thoughts and feelings to see when you’re allowing yourself to feel worse than you need to.
The absence of judgement that is a key component of radical acceptance does not imply agreement with the circumstance. Instead, it is accepting reality for what it is and resisting the urge to react emotionally to it.
What Does Radical Acceptance Look Like in Practice?
Radical acceptance is a difficult practise to master. In fact, getting a handle on it can take a lifetime of effort.
Radical acceptance is most commonly used in instances where you can’t fix or reverse what’s happened, or when something feels unfair, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job.
While grief and disappointment are natural feelings, suffering occurs when the initial agony is prolonged owing to an inability to admit the situation.
Some people mistakenly believe that forgiveness and radical acceptance are synonymous. In fact, they are totally opposite. Forgiveness entails doing something nice for someone else, whereas radical acceptance entails doing something nice for yourself.
If you’re holding on to a past trauma because you’re afraid that letting go would be the same as saying you agree with what happened, radical acceptance might be able to help.
While this will be difficult in the short term, you should notice that in the long run, your life will start improving. And when things begin to improve, you may notice that everything becomes more natural, easier, and lighter.