Monday, February 8, 2010

Radical Acceptance

Today I found an article I'd printed out quite some time ago from  This is a great website, by the way, for anyone having trouble coping with and/or regulating their emotions.  The article talked about how people deal with painful problems in life and proposed that there are four possible responses.  The four responses to painful problems include:

1. Solve the problem -- if it is something over which you have control
2. Stay miserable -- by refusing to accept the situation for what it is and internally willing it to be different
3. Accept it -- accept reality for what it is and accept that life can be worth living even with painful events in it
4. Change how you feel about it -- I think this goes along with #3.  First you accept a situation and then you work on changing how you feel about it.

The article points out that accepting a situation does not mean that you agree with it or that you like it.  Accepting it also does not mean that you don't work to change it.  Rather, a person must accept reality for what it is before he or she can change it.  After all, if you deny something exists how can you change it?


  1. Really interesting comment at the end about how accepting something doesn't mean you don't want it to change. I have always had a problem with the word 'accept' because to me it means, 'agreeing with,' or 'allowing for all time,' but I can see that if I loosen up my understanding of this word it can also mean 'allowing for this moment.' Great post, thanks!

    I am a big fan of Tara Brach - a Buddhist writer and psychologist. She has a book called 'Radical Acceptance.' Don't know if you know of it, but it's great.

  2. Hi Melody,

    Me again! I saw on your recommended book list that you have some books by Cheri Huber. I've never heard of her, but they look interesting. Could you tell me, why do you like her books? I'm just interested to know...might buy one.


  3. I like Cheri Huber because she encourages self-exploration and gives some specific exercises to this end. She doesn't just talk about abstract concepts. She explains concepts like acceptance and then provides ways to apply them to your own life.

    When I googled "radical acceptance" there were a lot of hits on Tara Brach. I'll have to look into her:-)

  4. Thank you for the name of that web-site. I will check it out.

    I've always been a big believer in steps 1, 3 and 4...but have felt like I'm stuck with step 2 for the past few months after finding out about my husband's affair and then having him leave me to go live with her.

    Logically, I'm at step 3, emotionally I flip-flop between 2 and 3! It's been an interesting ride but I have a feeling the web-site you've provided could offer me some further guidance...

    Interesting post!

  5. Very interesting. I´ll take a look.
    Greetings from Spain.


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