So I don’t know if you can relate to this - but I spend a huge chunk of my life thinking there was something wrong with me
I was just never enough - never smart enough, talented enough, pretty enough, successful enough, - I just wasn’t enough in any area of my life.
And so I went on this journey of “fixing myself.”
I took classes, read books, took trainings, I practiced my craft over and over again until I got more than just good at it, I bought more expensive clothes and drove an hour to get my hair done at the best place - the things I did to try to be 'more' was just a never-ending list of to-dos!
But I had consoled myself with the fact that I at least had hope: I had this promise that if I stayed on the treadmill of self-improvement I would get to where I felt I needed to be!
But year after year I never reached that promised land and year after year I found new areas I needed to improve (hello motherhood) and new methods that I still needed to try.
And then one day I picked up a book about acceptance...not just any kind of acceptance….Radical Acceptance...and I thought well maybe I should give this a try!
And I have to be honest, I laughed through most of the first chapter - I can remember thinking - "Well this won't work! I would never do anything if I just sat and accepted myself for who I am!"
But there was a tug on the heart that made me keep reading - And I am so grateful that I did, because it turns out I had NO IDEA what Acceptance actually was!
I thought it meant giving up and giving in...a type of "It is what it is."
But Radical Acceptance is oh so different than that!
Radical acceptance has two parts:
The first part is the ability to really see what is in front of us.
We might think that we have a good idea of what is happening in front of us but the truth is most of us look at the superficial circumstances and create some story about what we think is happening.
We see someone who is angry and we see someone who is out of control instead of seeing someone who is hurt.
We see someone who is procrastinating and we see someone who has no drive rather than someone who is dealing with the burden of perfection.
We almost never see what really is, unless we pause and take a moment, and in that moment accept what is in front of us so that we can see clearly.
Most of the time we resist and reject what is in front of us.
We see an angry person and we say "You shouldn’t be angry."
We see someone who is procrastinating and we say "You should come up with a greater why."
And in saying what 'should be' we reject what is.
The second part of Radical Acceptance is to feel compassion for what we see.
Normally when we look at something on the superficial level we tend to put it in the box of right or wrong - and we don’t normally feel much compassion for the things that go in the 'it's wrong' box!
But when we see what really is we can also see the pain behind the things we label wrong and when we see pain it inspires us to compassion!
And here is the good news - when we have seen what is really there and when we have felt compassion for what we see we come to a beautiful place - we come to a place where we are connected to our higher self and where we are connected to our resourcefulness and to our creativity.
Too often we see, we reject and we jump into action.
And then we don’t understand why the solutions don’t bring us the joy they promised or why we still feel upset after things have technically been worked out.
We jump into action too quickly and don’t take the time to process the emotions that we are experiencing.
The truth is we are actually only ready to take action after we have practiced radical acceptance!!
Only after we truly see and find our compassion are we ready for any type of action! If we dive into action before we truly see and find our compassion we tend to react instead of act and I don't know about you but when I am reacting I am never at my best self!
So amazingly enough when I practiced Radical Acceptance in my life the quote from Carl Rogers came true when he said "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change."
Are you curious about Radical Acceptance and how it would impact your life?