Friday, April 15, 2011

"Radical Acceptance"

It is Friday evening. I have the house to myself. My daughter is off to her mother's for Spring vacation. I have a large bottle of Bailey's to keep me company this evening. If anything it will keep me warm on this wet and cold evening.

I'm not expecting anyone I know to read this Blog, nor do I imagine someone wanting to meet me because of it. I Blog because I want to. I'd like to think that these bits and bytes of data I am putting out there on the "Inter-Webs" is making the overall collective smarter and better informed. After all, don't we learn from one another?

Last night I began on the first of two assignments my therapist had assigned me. To read up on "Radical Acceptance". I had no idea this term even existed until last night. In concept and theory it sounds quite simple.

It is required when presented with an issue that causes pain, grief, suffering, or any combination of the three. There is an infinite number of things that can cause these things. But there are only four responses to any and all of the aforementioned causes.

1. Solve the problem.
2. Change how you feel about it.
3. Accept it
4. Stay Miserable

I've found that the fourth response is what I've done in the past. Now seeing this homework in black and white in front of me and realizing I only have four choices to choose from I have to think... Why would I want to choose to stay miserable? Why!

So the first part of accepting is realizing reality is what it is. It's as simple as saying the ball is blue if it is blue.

The second part to accepting is accepting that every event and every situation has a cause. Accepting that every event has a cause is the opposite of saying 'why me'.

Now there's another opposite for thinking events have causes and that opposite is when you say: "Things should not be the way they are". Now 'should not be the way they are' is non-acceptance. We never say that about things we're accepting, we like, or we want. We say 'should not' about things that we think aren't caused - they should not be this way.

So the opposite of should not is should. And once you think that everything has a cause, then you think reality should be the way it is. Acceptance from this point of view is when you say 'everything should be as it is'.

Other things I have gotten from the reading of this assignment thus far. The following statement jumped out at me and is the final thing in acceptance.

You have to accept that life can be worth living, even if really painful events are currently in your life.

To go from an unendurable agony to an endurable pain, you're going to have to accept that you can build a life. Because if you don't accept it, what will happen? You're not going to build a life. And building a life worth living actually takes a fair amount of work. Believing that you can't do it makes it almost impossible. Believing that you can do it makes it a lot easier, so the chances are a lot higher that you'll actually do it - you'll build a life worth living.

"Unendurable Agony to Endurable Pain" Wow... That's a powerful statement. Is there such a thing as endurable pain? I have to admit, that, yes there is.

"Acceptance" It sounds easy. It is NOT.

Today is day two and I will work on what I can endure for the moment. I'm not worried about yesterday or tomorrow. I'm in the here and now. And for now, at the moment, I am in the solution.

Now THAT is Pretty radical.

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