Radically Accepting 2020: Pt 1

May 25, 2020


I have noticed over the last couple months of transitioning my practice to telehealth sessions I have been talking a lot about radical acceptance. It is one of the principles of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Therapy, which says that when we accept difficult circumstances that are beyond our control we actually reduce our own level of distress & suffering. It doesn’t mean that we enjoy the change that comes along with it, but denying its existence only creates more suffering for us. I believe it’s one of the reasons many people have been so reluctant to changes such as social distancing and wearing masks because then accepting that this pandemic is real & changing our lives in a major way is scary. Some are homeschooling kids, working from home, preparing to cut costs or possibly lose income. Others are going to be faced with the illness or the loss of someone they know & love if they haven’t already.

Interestingly, what I have also noticed is that how we have likely approached this experience is likely how we cope with most crises in our lives (myself included). We either rely on our healthy or not so healthy ways of coping, quickly adapt & make changes to accommodate our new realities or use the same unhealthy ways of coping until it’s over because we’re too overwhelmed to make change. If you are fortunate enough to not be personally affected with your own or a loved ones health consider how to use this time to change what hasn’t been in alignment with the life you want. Most of us want life to go back to normal, but what is this time revealing about the life you don’t want to return to? Stressful job? More quality time with family? Healthier lifestyle? Everyone does not have the time or energy to ‘transform’ their lives during this time of social distance & quarantine, but what mindfulness teaches is that no one moment is exactly the same. Nowis always good time to evaluate what needs to change. It may take some time to get to the place of acceptance, but once you do you will likely feel a weight lifted because you let go of  trying to change something that you have no control over. I invite you to take a look at the proceeding post that discuss in more detail about how we can adjust to our new reality.

Reference: McKay, M., Wood, J., & Brantley, J. (2007). The dialectical behavior therapy skills workbook; practical DBT exercises for learning mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. Oakland, CA, US: New Harbinger Publications, Inc, Oakland, CA.

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