Radical Acceptance

My sister Nicole and I were sharing our daily chat when she mentioned the concept of RADICAL ACCEPTANCE. The idea intrigued me, so I searched for a deeper understanding of the meaning behind those two words. My personal definition of radical acceptance was… to completely embrace without resistance. Further reading, helped to differentiate between acceptance and approval. Embracing our reality does not mean that we are necessarily okay with the happenings in our lives. 


When my son first learned the word NO, he would respond NO to every single proposition. “Jake, do you want to go to the park and have ice cream?”  “NO,” he would scream.  We would just smile and shake our heads realizing in an effort to assert his small amount of control, he was willing to miss out on an amazing treat.   He lacked the ability to fully understand how accepting the invitation would lead to a pleasurable experience.


I don’t do anything without resistance.  When you have been wronged, rejected, hurt, and manipulated the world becomes a dark, scary place.  How can I accept the cancer that robbed me of so much?  I never wanted to be a single parent.  I am not okay with my precious son being faced with a future filled with challenges. The void left from losing my Dad at the age of 20 will never be a welcomed truth.  These are facts that are intolerable, and so I remain in a place filled with unsettling torment. I have become an expert at hiding what is unpleasant, but what I desperately want to do is stomp my feet and let out a shattering NO to the universe.


People suffer, but we also heal. Looking at “what is” in your existence does not mean the ache is erased. My younger sister once shared that during a yoga class the instructor wisely stated that when faced with something uncomfortable our natural instinct is to pull away.  Although, we could consider leaning in and allowing real growth  to occur.  Nicole and Lee at least know that I am listening when we talk, even if it takes me a long time to put their wisdom into practice.

What reality do you need to radically accept?  How can you lean in and feel a bit of release?  Take a deep breath, and for a few seconds stop resisting. You just might be the recipient of some radical peace.