Marsha Linehan on Radical Acceptance

What is Radical Acceptance?

  1. Radical means all the way, complete and total.
  2. It is accepting in your mind, your heart, and your body.
  3. It’s when you stop fighting reality, stop throwing tantrums because reality is not the way you want it, and let go of bitterness.

What has to be Accepted?

  1. Reality is as it is (the facts about the past and the present are the facts, even if you don’t like them).
  2. There are limitations on the future for everyone (but only realistic limitations need to be accepted).
  3. Everything has a cause (including events and situations that cause you pain and suffering).
    Life can be worth living even with painful events in it.

Why Accept Reality?

  1. Rejecting reality does not change reality.
  2. Changing reality requires first accepting reality.
  3. Pain can’t be avoided; it is nature’s way of signaling that something is wrong.
  4. Rejecting reality turns pain into suffering.
  5. Refusing to accept reality can keep you stuck in unhappiness, bitterness, anger, sadness, shame, or other painful emotions.
  6. Acceptance may lead to sadness, but deep calmness usually follows.
  7. The path out of hell is through misery. By refusing to accept the misery that is part of climbing out of hell, you fall back into hell.

Learn more about radical acceptance at Marsha Linehan’s forthcoming training event “Practical Skills Training: Foundations & Updates” in Melbourne & Sydney.

Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging.

Marsha Linehan

DBT Founder