Radical Acceptance

#11: Radical Acceptance

Today, Marielle and Ed discuss the skill of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance is a Distress Tolerance skill that helps you stop fighting reality, however painful that reality is. When you can fully open up and radically accept what is happening in the present moment, suffering decreases.

“Radical acceptance is the starting point for any change.”

Ed Fowler

Show Highlights:

  • Getting too focused on change can sometimes backfire
  • Radical acceptance is not against change
  • Radical acceptance is different than plain old acceptance
  • Our instinct is often to fight painful things that are happening
  • Radical acceptance is not negating a sense of justice or fairness
  • Denial of reality can keep us from taking steps towards change
  • Acceptance does not equal approval
  • Accepting painful things can be a process
  • The first step in moving forward from painful things is accepting that they did happen
  • Sadness often comes up when we radically accept
  • Pain is a part of life for everyone – it can’t be avoided
  • It’s a fallacy to think that if you accept things you don’t like about yourself you won’t change
  • Radical acceptance doesn’t mean we don’t have preferences
  • We need to radically accept the past
  • If you are practicing Radical Acceptance of something in the future make sure you are only accepting known limitations
  • Willing Hands is a skill that can help you Radically Accept
  • To practice Willing Hands, turn your palms towards the sky and relax your arms
  • When we fight reality, we are often holding a lot of tension in our bodies

Links & Resources


DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

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