There is a phrase that I have been hearing a lot lately.
What it means is that you accept life on life’s terms.
You are not resisting what you cannot change.
Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is.
Imagine that you talk with an car dealer about leasing a bright red, 2014 Ford Mustang convertable. He has just sold the last one, but agrees to call you when the next shipment comes in.
You wait for months, then stop by to check with him.
When you arrive he is signing a lease agreement with a couple for your red mustang.
When you confront him, he shrugs.
That shouldn’t happen.
It isn’t fair.
BUT… It did happen.
The pain is… The loss of a particular car that you really wanted.
You may feel sad and hurt.
But.. what you need to understand is this:
Suffering is what you do with that pain and the interpretation you put on the pain.
Suffering is optional; pain is not.
It’s difficult to accept what you don’t want to be true.
But it is actually more difficult to not accept.
Not accepting pain brings suffering.
People often say, “I can’t stand this,”
“This isn’t fair,”
“This can’t be true,”
and “This shouldn’t be this way.”
It’s almost as if we think refusing to accept the truth will keep it from being true or that accepting means agreeing.
Accepting doesn’t mean agreeing.
It’s exhausting to fight reality and it doesn’t work.
In my life, my ex-husband would rather live on the streets and beg than get a legitimate job.
He knows that if he gets a job, they will take some of his money and give it to me for child- support.
So he chooses to be homeless and worthless.
This is not fair to my children.
I have 2 choices.
Be mad and let it destroy me.
Accept that he will NEVER support the kids, so I will need to find a way to earn extra income so that I can support them myself.
I chose to accept my situation!
And I have got to say…That was the best decision I ever made.
Accepting reality is difficult when life is painful.
No one wants to experience pain, disappointment, sadness or loss.
But those experiences are a part of life.
But trust me when I tell you that when you attempt to avoid or resist those emotions, you add suffering to your pain.
You can stop suffering by practicing acceptance.
Acceptance means you can turn your resistant, ruminating thoughts into accepting thoughts like,
“I’m in this situation.
I don’t approve of it.
I don’t think it’s OK,
but it is what it is and I can’t change that it happened.”
Radical Acceptance is a skill that requires practice.
Practicing accepting that traffic is heavy.
Or, that it’s raining on the day you wanted to go to the beach.
Can you be forgiving when your friend cancels when you had plans to spend the day together?
These are important skills to have in order for developing coping skills and living a more contented life.
When you practice acceptance, you are still disappointed, sad and perhaps fearful in such situations
But the difference is…
You don’t add the pain of non-acceptance to those emotions and make the situations worse.
Practicing acceptance in these situations also helps you prepare for acceptance in more difficult circumstances.
Earlier I mentioned how my ex-husnabd would rather be homeless than responsible. His decision has been one of life’s biggest lessons for me in my own life journey.
Through it,I have been to taught how to take myself out of suffering.
When he left us and it didn’t kill me, but rather made me stronger.
I realized then that most of my suffering had come from wishing something were different, or wishing I could go back, or being caught up in the future with fear.
When I was able to accept reality, I was then FINALLY able to deal with that particular part of my reality.
Sam has taught me a great life lesson…
He taught me that suffering only happens when we can’t accept the pain and we can’t move on.
Suffering is when pain is denied, avoided or renounced.
So you have choices:
Solve the problem.
Change how you feel about the problem.
Or stay miserable.
Life happens. There is no way out of it.
Life has good moments and difficult moments.
We can ride the wave of the moment or we can learn how to manage the moments in a way that will make life more manageable and more joyful.
We can choose to stay centered and grounded as we move through the ups and downs of the day.
I will never forget the day I was finally able to accept that I was on my own in raising my kids…My heart was light and I knew that I had been given another opportunity to practice managing life’s moments in the best way possible and if it wasn’t clear, the Universe made it clear – Radical Acceptance.