2020 has been a challenging adventure for all of us. With so many questions and uncertainty, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While we may understand that the pandemic won’t last forever, it is still not easy to accept our current circumstances. A skill that I have found useful for myself and the people I work with is Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance is a skill from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It teaches us to accept our circumstances, as they are, in this moment. When we stop holding on and trying to control situations we cannot change and just let go a little bit, pain and suffering are reduced and a sense of freedom returns. Accepting our reality does not mean that we are approving or giving up, nor is it saying we are against change. It simply means we are letting go so that we can be at peace.
FIRST, RECOGNIZE WE ARE FIGHTING REALITY.
So, how do we practice this skill? First, we must recognize that we are fighting our reality. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it so of course. Recognizing the resistance in ourselves is the first step. Then, we can practice physically “letting go.” Some choose to do this through meditation or mindfulness. I try to notice areas of my body that may be tense or tight. Then I very intentionally relax that area. At times, I have to give this several tries. My shoulders may tighten back up. If that happens, that’s ok. I start over and begin to relax again.
We have a few mindfulness videos on our YouTube channel that may help…
We also have a free mindfulness packet here, to help jump start your practice.
SECOND. ALLOW FEELINGS TO SHOW THROUGH.
We must allow ourselves to feel disappointment or even grief once we have accepted a situation that may not be ideal. These emotions can come up when we choose to accept our reality. It’s ok to feel those emotions and not suppress or push them away. In fact, it is healthy to allow our emotions.
Picture what life would look like if we did accept, not approve, of our circumstances. What would happen? How would we feel and what would we do? Acting as if we have already radically accepted 2020 will take us another step towards actually doing so.
Written by Heather Madrid, LCSW
Therapist, LIV Health Cheyenne