Radical Acceptance

Have you ever had a particularly extraordinary day? The kind of day where everything seemed to just “fall into place?” A day that you might even go as far as to say was a “perfect day?”

I believe many of us can say that we have experienced days like this, and some of us may have found a way to have them more often, and still others “more often than not.”

But how do these days come about? Are they random, or could there be a key or method to manifesting such experiences?

I took some time to face these questions by analyzing the elements of one of my own “perfect days,” and what I discovered is quite paradoxical. Paradoxical because I discovered that the day itself was not actually “perfect” by scientific standards. The day contained a usual mix of positive and less positive occurrences. Hence, we cannot say that the quality of a day can be completely measured by the nature of its “happenings.”

What then accounts for the differences in days? What qualia can we isolate that contributes to the experience of a “perfect day?”

For me, the one element that emerges clearly from my analysis is something known as Radical Acceptance. This concept became a focus in humanistic psychology in the 1960’s, but it has existed within religious teachings for centuries. It is currently a well-known intervention in a modern system of psychotherapy known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Radical Acceptance is a process through which we suspend our “critical mind” and simply allow what is to be as it currently is. Essentially, we release our ideas about how things ought to be, and allow them to be as they are. The result is often a deep sense of surrender, release, and PEACE. Many of you will see and recognize this as a kind of Mindfulness.

The algorithm would look like this:

Awareness – Judgment + Acceptance = PEACE

Now, it was not long before the “critical mind” stepped back into my analysis with a few strong (and salient) objections. “How can we just radically accept so many horrible things in our world?” “We cannot just escape into our own little words of bliss while the world continues to spin out of control.”

Here emerges a caveat: Radical Acceptance is not the condoning of things as they are, but the acknowledgement that they are as they are in the moment. It does not mean that we are called to just let everything be and continue, but it does mean that we do well to face what we can and cannot change.

Also of vital importance in the practice of Radical Acceptance is the identification of and focus upon all that is good and beautiful within a given moment (or day). Even in winter there is a visitation of a “rogue flower” or “messenger bird.” Even in war there are acts of humanity. Our goal is to highlight these moments, and make them the “new norm.”

Our algorithm now becomes:

Awareness – Judgment + Acceptance(Beauty) = PEACE

Imagine if we could teach every human being on planet earth how to accept and focus upon the good that is present and continually possible in every moment of existence?

This, then, is our pathway to world peace and universal human wellbeing.

May it begin with each and every one of us as we think, feel, and do every “next good thing.”

Be Well!

Dr. Mik

One thought on “Radical Acceptance

  1. Dr. Mik, I really think you have hit the nail right on the head. Radical acceptance is what Jesus taught.
    Very insightful writing. This has blessed me more then you will ever know.


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