After you have made time to gather and strengthen skills that help you manage difficult emotions such as mindfulness, meditation, grounding, breathing techniques, progressive relaxation etc. you may be ready to use radical acceptance. Among other things, it is a way to experience freedom from the past and weather difficult events and feelings without avoiding or rejecting them. The result is a reduction in the power they have over you and your life.
What is Radical Acceptance?
-Radical means all the way, complete and total.
-When you cannot keep painful events and emotions from coming your way.
-It is accepting in your mind, your heart and your body.
-It's when you stop fighting reality, stop throwing tantrums because reality is not the way you want it, and let go of bitterness.
What has to be accepted?
-Reality is as it is (the facts about the past and the present are facts, even if you don't like them).
-There are limitations on the future for everyone (but only realistic limitations need to be accepted).
-Everything has a cause (including events and situations that cause you pain and suffering).
-Life can be worth living with painful events in it.
Why accept reality?
-Rejecting reality does not change reality.
-Changing reality requires first accepting reality.
-Pain can't be avoided; it is nature's way of signaling that something is wrong.
-Rejecting reality turns pain into suffering.
-Refusing to accept reality can keep you stuck in unhappiness, bitterness, anger, sadness, shame or other painful emotions.
-Acceptance may lead to sadness, but deep calmness usually follows.
-The path out of hell is through misery. By refusing to accept the misery that is part of climbing out of hell, you fall back into hell.
From DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan.