Day Thirty Two
Radical Acceptance was a skill explained to me in a situation where I felt trapped, and desperate to eject myself from reality. I was in the middle of an immigration issue that threatened my entire way of life and stuck in the impenetrable bureaucracy of the waiting game. There was no way on heaven or earth I could fight it, and it wasn’t fair. The most important thing about Radical Acceptance for me was that acceptance doesn’t mean approval. Nor does it mean I have to roll over, wallowing in the pain of the situation.
For me it meant acknowledging reality, and not wasting my resources fighting the things I could not change. Thus, I could take care of the things I had the power to change.
It was saying “This is real. This is happening. What can I realistically do about this?” For me it was finding the best things to occupy myself with as I was stuck in the unavoidable waiting of the aforementioned case, rather than trying to fight an impossible situation whose outcomes would always be the same. It involved identifying healthy and helpful things to do, that didn’t involve picking up a drink. I had to practise Radical Acceptance with my body – accepting that on any given day it was the body I was given. I could berate and punish it, or I could accept it and make choices to make living with it more tolerable. With the abuse I endured as a teenager, I could deny and obliterate it with alcohol, or I could (painfully) accept it and move towards healing. It did not mean approval – simply a recognition of the facts and a step into reality. It created a foundation to grow, rather than trying to alter reality with alcohol in a way that just ended up stunting my enjoyment of life and development as a person.
Are there areas in your life where you can practise Radical Acceptance?
Three tiny things:
- Make a list of films you have always said you’d watch but never got around to.
- Put your clothes away, do your laundry, move all the things in your living space that need to be picked up.
- Speak some affirmations to yourself in the mirror.