Radical Acceptance

Today, I’m sharing about radical acceptance, which is a concept that I use both personally and in my therapy work with clients. Radical acceptance can be both simple and difficult all at the same time.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

Radical acceptance is the ability to acknowledge the reality of your situation without judging, blaming, or criticizing yourself or others. Radical acceptance involves understanding the things that are both within and outside of your control. You can then use that awareness to guide future situations and challenges.

I understand that this idea may seem intricate, so check out the following statements that convey radical acceptance:

  • “It is what it is.”
  • “This is how it’s meant to be.”
  • “I can’t change the past.”
  • “All I have is the present.”
  • “I’m where I’m at right now for a reason, even if I don’t like the circumstances.”
  • “What’s happening now is the result of a million other factors and decisions before now.”

Have you ever found yourself making any of the aforementioned statements? Then to some degree, you’ve practiced radical acceptance.

The DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) Skills Workbook adds that “Radical acceptance does not mean that you condone or agree with bad behavior in others. But it does mean that you stop trying to change what’s happened by getting angry and blaming the situation.”

When we try to change situations that are outside of our control, our mental health can suffer; more specifically, we get frustrated, anxious, angry, depressed, overwhelmed, and maybe even hopeless.


Here are some ways that you can practice radical acceptance today:

  • The next time you’re caught in traffic, be patient without criticizing the cause of the traffic jam. Don’t criticize yourself for not leaving sooner. Just be present in the moment and be patient. A year from now, this will not matter.
  • Read a controversial blog post without casting judgment or commenting; rather, absorb what has been said then let it go.


When I teach my clients about radical acceptance, I do so with the caveat that it’s easier said than done. It’s a skill that gets better with practice. I’m currently applying radical acceptance to a few areas of my life to include family drama, business concerns, and some past decisions that didn’t pan out.

How can you apply radical acceptance to a situation in your life? Feel free to share with me in the comments!

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