What is Radical Acceptance?

What is Radical Acceptance?

Radical Acceptance is a Distress Tolerance skill from Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Accepting what is gives us peace and helps us adapt to change.

Radical Acceptance is when you accept things the way they are without resistance. Instead of wishing things were different or focusing on how they “should” be. Radical means all the way, completely and totally. It is accepting in your mind, your heart, and your body. It’s when you stop fighting reality and let go of bitterness.

“Radical Acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging.” – Marsha M. Linehan

What needs to be accepted?

  • The facts of reality as it is - the past and the present
  • Everyone encounters obstacles, focus on what you can control
  • Everything has a cause, even situations that cause pain
  • Life can be worth living even with painful moments

Why accept reality?

  • To change our reality, we have to accept it first
  • Pain can’t be avoided but we can avoid suffering by accepting the pain. Pain + Non-Acceptance = Suffering
  • Refusing to accept reality can keep you stuck in unhappiness bitterness, anger, sadness, shame, or other painful emotions
  • Acceptance may lead to sadness, but peace usually follows

Remember that Radical Acceptance is not:

  • Approval, compassion, love, passivity, or resistance to change
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1 comment

Thank you for sharing this insightful perspective on Radical Acceptance. It resonates deeply, especially in high conflict CoParenting classes where embracing the reality of past experiences is crucial for moving forward in a healthy CoParenting relationship. It’s inspiring to see how such a therapeutic concept can be practically applied through coaching exercises like the one you’ve described. It’s helpful to children of divorce and separation. The insightful material that you provide for our education is appreciated.

Jeff Soilson

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