Radical Acceptance can be Totally Rad!
Hey Beacon Buds!
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how rad Radical Acceptance can be- so naturally I decided to blog about it!
What is Radical Acceptance?
According to DBT MVP Marsha Linehan it is:
The complete and total acceptance, from deep within, of the facts of reality. It involves acknowledging facts that are true and letting go of a fight with reality. Acceptance is often misunderstood as approval (it is not) or as being against change (it is not) (2015).
Let’s break this down a bit further:
Denial of Reality: Did you know that all human beings are magicians? Yep! We are! We can alter any reality in a matter of seconds flat. Why do we do this? We don’t like to experience things or events that conflict with our values, opinions, or sense of self. So rather than take in the objective facts, we go ahead and make them fit our schema of things. This might provide us with an immediate sense of comfort, but rarely does it endure. Cue the eating disorder. We often fail to acknowledge and accept the presence of our eating disorder and the depth of care it requires. This very lack of acceptance and denial of reality leads us to repeatedly engage in behaviors that maintain the eating disorder and chaos around it. Through going against reality and wishing things different, we make life more unmanageable and recovery next to impossible.
Acceptance: I know that we just made a huge leap from denying our reality to accepting it. I am in no way suggesting that it happens this gracefully or linearly. We usually warm up to seeing things as they are after repeated suffering and through lots of trial and error. Let’s also keep in mind that Marsha throws us a bone here. We don’t have to like, love or approve of reality-we only have to accept it. So while many of us are not jumping for joy that we hit the genetic lotto for an eating disorder, we can acknowledge that this is our reality and can begin to take steps to care for ourselves.
Repeat: Acceptance of difficult things most often comes in waves. One moment you’re on board, and the next you are so over it. Look, I get it, accepting your eating disorder is not the same as accepting a 100,000,000 dollar check (that’s a one and done deal-I’ll take the check, thanks). Radical Acceptance requires that we regularly and gently redirect ourselves back to reality (not away from it).
Change: Radical acceptance is not rigid and please do not mistake acceptance for passivity. While reality does come with restrictions, we can always change for the better.
Today, if you find yourself in a struggle with your eating disorder, ask “am I honoring my reality?”
With love and light,
DBT Skills Trainings Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition by Marsha M. Linehan, 2015