• Radical Acceptance

    Radical Acceptance is another distress tolerance skill.

    Radical acceptance is to acknowledge and accept that a situation exists without judging it or yourself, without looking for who to blame or looking for the reason a situation occurred.  Some self-talk phrases that reflect radical acceptance include ‘it is what it is’ or ‘the present moment is the only moment I have control over.’

    Of course, there are times when it is appropriate to look for the ‘why’ of a situation, but I honestly find that often this can be a rabbit hole that my clients go down. It can lead to a never-ending search for the right answer, which does not allow for the person to move forward.

    I find this most commonly occurs when the traumatic experiences a person endures are interpersonal. The abuse by parents or a significant other often lead to a prolonged fixation on figuring out why that person behaved as they did. And so often it starts with the person trying to find the fault in themselves that caused the other person to behave as they did. But let’s be honest, the abuser will always find a reason, and it is not truly about anything within the abused.

    Even when the search for a reason does not involve an unhealthy blaming of themselves, I still find that it gets in can get in the way of progress and moving forward. In those cases, I like to point out that no explanation is really going to satisfactorily account for why loved ones are abusive. It will never make sense on an emotional level. And so, the only option left is radical acceptance.

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