There’s nothing wrong with relentlessly chasing after your dreams. But sometimes you have to practice radical acceptance.

There are books, presentations, and workshops that help us learn how to chase our dreams and reach certain goals. We are taught to never give up, for the most part. But there comes a time when everything we do or say cannot change a situation. We cannot control everything in our lives, no matter how hard we try.

Learning Radical Acceptance

There are many examples of how radical acceptance works. Sometimes, you’ve had to endure a form of abuse, and it was extremely painful, whether it was physical or mental. Over the years after the incident, you’ve gone through so much pain and struggled with issues and triggers.

First of all, you have to accept that the thing happened. It’s not that you’re accepting what they did to you, it’s just that you’re accepting the event occurred and helping yourself to move on from the heartache. It’s the same with infidelity, or losing a job, it hurts, but it’s already done. You have to find a way to go from that point to the next part of your life.

Yes, there’s this thing called radical acceptance, and it’s not something that always comes easy to us. In fact, it’s the opposite of pressing hard toward something that never seems to work. As most people are screaming “Don’t give up!”, there’s an acceptance blooming in the back of your head, and it’s covered with pain. It’s the pain of what we consider failure.

This sort of acceptance comes from failed attempts at different forms of success, like sports, for instance. You may keep pushing yourself to run faster than your opponent, but at some point, you may have to accept he’s just a faster runner. Maybe you can catch up and maybe you won’t.

A different look at radical acceptance

But radical acceptance isn’t a failure. It’s more like having the maturity to understand that not everything in this world can be controlled just so you can live a dream or reach a goal. And sometimes we create an end goal in our heads.

We see what we want to happen and we make this thought an absolute, meaning, we’re unwilling to have it any other way. That is what causes much of the pain and struggles we go through when we cannot accept a different way of life.

Of course, it doesn’t help when we live with someone who always seems to cause problems on a daily basis. Accepting their behavior can be difficult, and definitely hard to accept no matter how mature we are.

Sometimes, in severe circumstances, we have to distance ourselves from these people in order to take away the constant day to day struggles they seem to cause.

What happens when we resist change

When we refuse to accept something that goes against what we want, we resist. This resistance is the thing that causes suffering. When we lose someone we love, no, we don’t have to be okay with it, but we do have to accept it.

Otherwise, we will suffer from much longer than we should. We are actually resisting the very nature of death, and you know this is a losing battle.

What happens when we accept the “unacceptable”?

Just because we accept the “unacceptable” doesn’t mean we approve of what’s happening. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’ve agreed with something just because you don’t fight it tooth and nail. Maybe they choose to fight until all their hair falls out, but radical movements where we accept reality can keep us sane.

When we’re finally able to accept our circumstances and the fact that some factors absolutely cannot be changed, we open up a new avenue of thought. We open up the acceptance of the change.

If you’re anything like me, you’re not really fond of change. But with this change, there are different routes that spring up, and various ideas you may have never considered.

So, how do we practice radical acceptance?

Truth be told, this process may take a while for you to get used to. Very few of us want to accept what we don’t like. However, it takes accepting three important realities – the past, the present, and the future. We must accept what has happened and be at peace with that fact.

We must accept our present situation and do our best to live the life we deserve, but sometimes in acceptance. As far as the future goes, we shouldn’t guess.

We cannot know what the future brings and we shouldn’t make promises we possibly might break, we shouldn’t plan for things so much that we leave little room for change, and we should never take charge of the future of someone else’s life either.

When taking on radical acceptance, we should understand that although our circumstances may not be the way we like them, we can learn a way to honor the way they are. I think accepting some things in our lives can be just as fulfilling as fighting toward what we want. Again, like many things in life, it requires a healthy balance.

References:

  1. https://www.huffpost.com
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu

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