Radical acceptance is often brought up in treatment for OCD. The concept is quite intriguing. It is the idea that we only need to accept what we are experiencing. In one moment, to the next we bring ourselves to a state of peace by accepting our circumstance. For me, radical acceptance has been very important in my chronic illness journey. After my last surgery, radical acceptance clicked for me. In times of pain, it’s easier to accept than in times of anxiety. So how can we find radical acceptance and how do we implement it into our lives? Here’s how I found radical acceptance:
- Be Patient
Radical acceptance is a difficult concept. It’s something that’s completely foreign to us. Often, when we dream of what our world could be, instead of accepting and flourishing in what is, we are commended. From an outside perspective, we are encouraged to invest in our future and never settle for what is. I can almost guarantee this will take time and effort when first starting out.
- Do Your Research
With any new lifestyle change, I encourage you to do your research. Make sure that you are coming at this from your own perspective. Everyone is different. We are all coming from different walks of life and you have to find this in your own way, at your own time. You are going to want to make this lifestyle change with longevity. Ensure you’re not jumping in as if it’s a passing fad. This is an amazing tool but if you’re only interested in the short term, it may not be worth the effort.
I know, I suggest meditation a little too much. This is only because it has been so life changing for me. I use the app Insight Timer to meditate. They offer some excellent meditations for radical acceptance. Meditation is a great first step in finding radical acceptance. Sitting with your thoughts and focusing on your breath allows you to let go of the past and the future. Accepting where you are and letting go of where you want to be is vital. For me, this was difficult. The concept of letting go of all my hopes and dreams was depressing at first. One day I realized, although I can still strive to get to where I want to be, I will never be truly happy unless I accept where I am. I didn’t choose to be sick, but there’s beauty in everything. Listening to what your journey is teaching you in this moment will open up your world.
- You Will Question It
This process isn’t stagnant. You will come to question your acceptance. You may feel like you’re doing it wrong or find that you dislike it. That’s okay; like everything in life this is a process. It’s not one size fits all. What you discover about yourself throughout this process will inform you moving forward. If anything, I encourage you to question radical acceptance. I encourage you to reflect. Inform your decisions based off of what you learn. Find what works for you and your lifestyle.
- Don’t Be Complacent
Please don’t confuse radical acceptance with complacency. They are two very separate things. To radically accept your circumstances is to not wish yourself into a different state. It’s saying, this is where I am, I see that and I’m okay with that. You still make choices based off of your goals and aspirations. If you broke your leg, radical acceptance is to not wish you could walk again. It’s to say, in this moment, I cannot walk. I accept that I am in pain. I allow the world to teach me something in this moment and move forward. Of course, we all want to be able to walk but if you could never walk again, you would survive. Coming out of that, if you are fortunate enough to be able to walk again you have a new sense of gratitude. This is not something you need and yet you have this ability. That’s a beautiful thing.
Illness brings you to a natural state of radical acceptance, at least it did for me. I don’t get to choose how my illness changes or progresses. One day to the next is a mystery. When you are brought into a state where you possess less than what you once had, don’t get upset. Don’t waste time wishing that you were in the past. You are where you are. If you can’t change it, that’s okay, you will survive. At the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters? Find beauty in the abilities you have, don’t dwell on those that you desire. Everything has a time and a place. If you can find peace in the reality that no matter your circumstance, you are enough, you are worthy, and you have the power to change your perspective, then your world itself will change.