Radical Acceptance: accepting what is, withholding judgement.
This is a tough one for a lot of us. Yet we cause ourselves a
great deal of unnecessary upset and frustration by refusing to
accept what is right in front of us. We apply our preconceived
expectations, beliefs and desires to people, situations, even
ourselves. Some of which we have control to change, but much of
which is completely beyond our control.
Perhaps your mother in law is an alcoholic, and you do not feel
safe leaving your children with her. She makes poor decisions
around her health and her finances. You rant and rave at your
husband and anyone who will listen about how you wish she would get
sober. You leave Alcoholic Anonymous brochures in her mail box.
You may ruminate over how her drinking is damaging the family. You
may scheme about how you will convince her to stop drinking.
Is her behavior within your control? (no) Do you have spare energy
to keep taking this approach with no results? (not likely)
Today try radical acceptance. She is active in her addiction.
There is nothing more you can do to change her. This is how it is,
you do not have to agree with her choices, approve of her choices,
but you can choose to accept that these are her choices. Then you
are free to explore what you can do in response to her choices.
Some examples might be to set safe boundaries for your children,
grieve the situation, and perhaps seek professional support for
yourself in dealing with the situation
This was a heavy example, but the practice of acceptance can be
applied to everyday moments. Stuck in traffic? Babysitter calls
in sick? Daughter has meltdown in grocery store? Boss is an
obsessive neat freak? what can you control?
Remember, acceptance does not equal agreeing or approval! It means
moving past your judgement and coping with the situation adaptively.