Sometimes life can feel unmanageable. It can be discouraging, but focusing on the things we can change and the things we can accept can help. Radical acceptance is a term used in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) that means making a conscious effort to acknowledge the difficult situations in our lives and the emotions that arise. It can help stop our pain from turning into chronic suffering. Instead of focusing our energy on the things we cannot change, radical acceptance allows us to accept whatever is happening for what it is.
Oftentimes when things occur that are out of our control, we have the tendency to immediately enter our panic mode. We may notice it becomes difficult to breathe, our thoughts might be racing, and we might feel as though the world around us is going a hundred miles an hour and we just want everything to slow down.
When you are faced with a challenging situation, something out of your control, try taking a deep breath and saying to yourself, “So it is like this now.” Notice what happens in your body as you accept things for what they are. Maybe your shoulders relax. Maybe you notice your breathing becomes steady. Allow yourself to radically accept whatever is going on in that moment, and respond to it rather than emotionally react.
One way to practice radical acceptance is by using coping statements. Next time you feel as though your thoughts and emotions are stuck in a negative space due to your current situation, try writing some of these coping statements down. Put them on a sticky note and place them in areas you know you will see them every day to help remind you that there are some things you cannot change.
I am not my past and I cannot change what happened to me.
This moment is what I have control over.
Emotions are temporary and they will pass.
I can let go of my past.
I accept myself for who I am today.
I can forgive myself.
We know acceptance is not always easy, and that is why we are here for you! If you feel like you are having trouble letting things go and accepting your current situation for what it is, reach out to one of our clinicians at 253 Therapy and Consult. We can help you practice radical acceptance and learn to embrace life no matter what comes your way.