How do you practice radical acceptance? Well first, let's give it some definition. This is part from a book I love dearly, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach and part my own insight into the topic. Radical acceptance makes it safe for the frightened and unsafe parts of our being to let themselves be known. In Part One of this post I'll talk more specifically about how you interact with fear.
"Radical Acceptance dissolves the glue that binds us as a small self and frees us to live from the vibrant fullness of our being." -Tara Brach
It is a practice in not running from your fears or fighting them. Rather observe, take pause, and accept them as part of you. The things that scare you are not going to destroy you - but you treat them like they will. You keep your fears at a distance and make them some external experience.
But as one being, the only thing you are really keeping at a distance is the ability to live as your whole self. It's not hard to let this seep into every aspect of your life. Not practicing Radical Acceptance usually shows up at avoidance.
- Avoid making the difficult decision until it turns into anxiety or pain
- Avoid asking the scary questions for fear of what is on the other side
- Avoid asking yourself what you know to be true because it might mean making radical changes you're not ready for
- Avoid dealing with your a toxic relationship because it might mean re-defining yourself
- Avoid taking care of your needs because you're afraid things around you will crumble if you take care of yourself first
Let me say this here - everyone has fear! Fear is an inevitable part of life. Resisting fear is to resist life. You know why you're avoiding what you're avoiding. It pools up in you as a strong emotion.
Even if you project this fear as coming from someone else, or a situation out of your control, it's what the emotion says about you or your own feelings toward yourself that you're avoiding. Let me say this again - it's what the emotion says about you or your own feelings toward yourself that you're avoiding.
What are some of the benefits of practicing radical acceptance? Well, imagine all those things you're living your life in a way that keeps them at bay....now imagine them not having a toll on your well-being. They may still be there but you aren't effected by them. You are shaken up or afraid to be yourself even in their presence.
Healing is not the absence of fear or pain. Healing is possible when your whole essence isn't defined by your fear or pain.
Imagine being able to be present with some of the deepest questions and biggest transitions in your life without the anxious side-effects. What if you could breath through them? See your fears from more than one vantage point? Embrace them and feel love even for the things in you that you don't yet understand?
This is the tip of what radical acceptance can do for your life. In Part Two I'll talk about how to practice radical acceptance. Today I wanted to introduce you to this wonderful idea and leave you with one solution: The Pause.
The Pause is an intentional pausing in the face of your fears or triggers of your fears coming to light. It's being in the midst of the very thing you're trying to avoid and intentionally not reacting first. Just Pause.
It's important to remember that your fear is an anticipation of an outcome. Most fear is never present. It's either packed up in a memory or somewhere in the future you're worried will come to pass.
What to do with your pause: give yourself some space between the anxiety of your fear and what you do with this anxiety. Before you avoid it, get angry, or numb it, simply be still. Time is on your side. I promise.
In this pause become an observer. Observe what the fear triggers in you. Observe yourself being triggered. Observe what you immediately want to do with this fear. Observe how you feel not doing the thing you want to do right away. Take 2-3 deep belly breaths.
Practice the pause just once over the next few days. See how you feel. Taking pause also tells your body that no immediate danger is present. If no immediate danger is present then your limbic brain doesn't need to do it's fight or flight routine.
In love and light,