Something we have been working on this week is a practice we like to call ‘radical acceptance’. It’s one of those concepts which sound super easy in theory but are much more difficult to put into practice. The idea of it is to get into the habit of completely accepting whatever situation is in front of you as soon as it arises.
How it works:
- Something unexpected happens. E.g. you realise your car battery is flat because you left the light on, or you missed the bus by a minute, or you misheard the directions on the GPS and took the wrong turn;
- You automatically get frustrated and start rambling about what should have been. Eg. “I should have turned the light off right after I found what I was looking for”, or “I knew I should have gotten up straight away instead of pressing the snooze button again”, or “I knew I should have checked the maps ahead of time”;
- You realise that you are frustrated and become an observer of your inner/outer dialogue;
- At this instance, you do something radical and simply accept what is. Eg. “Ok, I left the light on in the car.” or “Ok, I just missed the bus.” or “Ok, I took the wrong turn.”;
- If relevant, you learn a key takeaway about what should be for next time. Eg. “Next time I’ll set myself a reminder.” or “Next time, I won’t press the snooze button.” or “Next time I will check the maps ahead of time”.
When you begin it is very common to have a time lag between step 2 and step 3, and especially between step 3 and step 4. You might even find yourself oscillating between the different steps, back and forth a number of times, before finally moving on once and for all. This is totally normal, and all part of the process. Over time, you will begin to shorten the gaps between each step, until eventually, they all happen almost simultaneously. It’s pretty liberating when that happens! Yet it’s just as much of an accomplishment to notice your progress along the way….just be sure to be compassionate with yourself when it seems you are going backwards. As they say, practice makes perfect (or somewhere close to it).