Radical Acceptance in 2023
The start of a new year can look different for everyone. Feelings around the end of 2022 and the start of 2023 may bring up both positive emotions for some and negative emotions for others. What is most commonly shared among the public eye about the new year exemplifies opportunity, newness, more rituals and routines people are striving to implement in their everyday lives. Many people make new fitness and health goals, while some implement activities they aim to complete each day or week. I would like to offer an additional perspective to the conversation about new year’s resolutions by reminding you that change is not easy. The “step by step guides” about how to keep your resolutions in 2023 that are plastered all over the media and magazines can sometimes fixate so much on the task and forget to acknowledge the difficulties of these processes. It seems that everything is so future oriented and emphasizes leaving the past behind.
As someone who values health and fitness, I have found myself over the years writing down big goals to strive for and implement on the first day of January. While setting intentional goals with a timeline can be helpful, it can also present a lot of challenges, pressure and expectations. More commonly than not, I would find myself feeling like I bit off more than I could chew, which has led to disappointment and doubt in my abilities. In years past, I have been quick to focus on things I want to change, rather than first accepting my current situation and then making intentional steps towards implementing new behaviors or activities.
This year I have focused on leaning in to accepting the current state of my body’s physical abilities. After having two hip surgeries this past year, I have been limited with my body’s physical mobility and movement, which has, at times, presented me with intense frustration. In DBT, radical acceptance is a distress tolerance skill that helps us accept reality as it is in order to implement change, avoid suffering and being stuck in unhappiness or other painful emotions. Radical acceptance can be considered one of the more difficult skills in DBT as it emphasizes accepting all the way in our mind, heart, and body. In order to change reality, we have to first accept reality. Practicing radical acceptance includes observing how we are questioning our reality, reminding us that unpleasant past events cannot be changed and leaning into mindfulness to help us find a place to be willing of acceptance.
As we are nearing the middle of January, I’d challenge you to identify a part of your life that you seek to radically accept. Whether this is something from 2022 or years past, try to recognize some part of your life that interferes with your ability to let go of painful events and suffering. Remind yourself that radical acceptance can take time and a lot of practice, but that sometimes the path out of this suffering requires you to face reality with an openness to accept before being able to implement change.
WORDS OF WISDOM
MEME OF THE WEEK
The Long Game: a Conversation with Robert Waldinger
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Quick Healthy Breakfast, Chickpea Spinach Salad, Classic Pot Roast