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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Pudil, LCSW-R

Radical Acceptance

The 2020 year has provided many unwanted experiences and changes that affected our lives due to the pandemic. Remote schooling for my kids was not a decision we would have ever made for them, but that choice was out of our hands. My husband waivers on whether working from home is a good thing or not. It depends on the day and if he is tired of trying to juggle his work while keeping our remote learners engaged in school. At my practice, I had to move quickly to Telehealth. This has allowed me to continue to provide care to my clients but also has created distance. I do miss seeing them in person to have a deeper connection. I also miss attending gatherings to see friends and going to the movies. Wearing masks 24/7 has also been a difficult adjustment. We can sit here and lament and obsess over how we don’t like these changes or we can engage in Radical Acceptance.

Radical Acceptance is a therapeutic tool with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This is when you stop fighting reality or situations that are beyond your control and COVID is surely one of them. You just accept things the way they are. This keeps you from getting stuck in emotions. By accepting yourself and your circumstances in order to better move through and past them. Fighting against something often makes the situation worse.

Here are the 4 steps to achieving Radical Acceptance:

1. Notice that you are fighting reality.

  • Feeling bitter or resentful

  • Thinking life shouldn’t be this way

2. Turn your mind towards acceptance

  • Accepting yourself and your life for what they are, not for what you want them to be

  • Survey yourself and your life without judgment

  • Realize and acknowledge what you can and cannot control

3. Use your body to help you

  • When fighting reality your body can become tense and tired. Take a moment to notice the tension in your shoulders, back, or neck. Tight muscles work against relaxing into acceptance.

4. Act as if

  • Even if you are not able to radically accept, try acting as if

This technique does not mean you are giving up on the problem. This is just to give you space to feel freedom and peace in your life. The 2020 year brought many unwanted changes to our lives. Let’s not get caught up in this, but instead radically accept and move on to provide space in our lives for a hopeful 2021.


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