Let’s talk about radical acceptance. What is it despite the obvious meaning of both words? Radical acceptance is a state of accepting things as they come and not fighting against the tide. Despite things not going your way or the way you expect, you embrace the change (or lack thereof) and practice stillness. It is the relinquishing of control and letting things come together the way they are meant to.
I just learned that a close relative has a pretty serious diagnosis and I thought to myself, this must be my test to practice radical acceptance. Accepting what I hear rather than challenging it or undermining it is hard for me. I like to be in control. But trying to be in control all the time is a blessing and a curse. It is the number one reason why I have anxiety. My anxiety won’t let me accept anything good and only focus on the bad. So, in an attempt to rid myself of anxiety, I’m practicing radical acceptance to help me cope with this bad news.
Practicing radical acceptance isn’t for the faint of heart.
I admit I am struggling with this. Radical acceptance is at best… radical. To just accept bad things as they come and resist the urge to fix it is hard. I may seem calm on the outside, but my dream life has been turbulent letting me know my subconscious is manifesting my fears for me. However, I am trying to push through despite feeling that I got to do something. I recognize that’s my anxiety talking and that what I need to do more than ever right now is practice faith and recognize that whatever happens is what was always meant to happen.
We as humans overestimate how much control we have over things. As a Christian, it is constantly reinforced that it is God’s will (not mine) that will be done. When I get bad news, I no longer pray ferociously for it to go away or for miraculous healing. Instead, I have faith that God’s will be done no matter what I do, and I have to accept HIS will and not force my agenda. Death is a part of life. We all are going to die. God has already written in his good book how long each of us will live. It was written before we were born. As much as I love any person, I have to always remember that we all have an expiration date. That’s why it is important to love on your loved ones fiercely because we never know when God will call them home.
Accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and be able to know the difference.
This is the mantra for the Twelve-Step Recovery program, it is part of their Serenity Prayer. There are things I can control such as what I choose to eat every day and what time I go to bed and there are also things I can’t like unexpected events such as bad weather or someone I know getting sick. Rather than dwell on the things I can’t, why not focus on the things I can change? Even the concept that I can eliminate my anxiety is foolish. My anxiety is a chronic disorder that I have had since I was a child and inherited from my mom. Because of the genetic markers for anxiety and living with the current stressors of today’s toxic environment, I will probably never rid myself of it. But what I can control is my perspective on it and how much I allow it to affect me. That is something within my control. Accepting all of this will hopefully bring me one step closer to peace. And perhaps this is the lesson God has been trying to teach me all along.
What are you working on radically accepting?
Now that I have shared how I am working and struggling with radical acceptance, I challenge you personally to practice radical acceptance. What is one thing you can work on radically accepting? It can be small or big, however I advise you to take baby steps. Try picking one tiny thing you can radically accept and practice relinquishing control over it daily. I have seen things actually turn out better than I could have imagined when I allowed God’s plan to unfold rather than my orchestrated one. So, I challenge everyone who reads this blog to start practicing radical acceptance. And when you do, comment below on how it turned out for you.
Take good care and be blessed,