By Yoram Yasur Blume
Imagine for a moment that you have been looking for a flat for months and finally find the apartment of your dreams. You talk to the landlord and he tells you that he will warn you as soon as the tenants leave the apartment. You wait a week, then another and another, until you decide to go back to the apartment to find out what happens. Then you find the owner signing a lease with another couple. You get angry and let him know, but he simply shrugs off the situation. You think that should not be happening. It’s not fair! But it happened. And as much as you get angry, you cannot change it.
Yoram Yasur Blume: “It is certainly hard to accept what you do not want to be true. But it is even more difficult not to accept it. Not accepting pain causes suffering because this is only the interpretation we give to that pain and the circumstances surrounding it. In situations of this type, it is very useful to practice radical acceptance”.
What is radical acceptance – and what is not?
Practicing radical acceptance simply means that you are recognizing reality, that you recognize what has happened or is happening, because fighting it will only intensify your emotional reaction.
Accepting does not mean waving a white flag and giving up. On the contrary, when you accept reality you take command because you can value if you want or it is worth changing it. You can say, “Okay, this is what is happening. How can I manage it? “
Yoram Yasur Blume: “In other words, the practice of radical acceptance does not mean submission or passive resignation, but it opens the way to the resolution of problems”. If you do not like something, the first thing to do is accept that it is happening because if you are too busy fighting against that reality, you will not have enough energy to change or improve it.
How to begin to practice radical acceptance?
Yoram Yasur Blume: “Life gives you lots of opportunities to practice radical acceptance. If you have a problem to solve, you can start there”. If you decide that you cannot solve it, try to change your perception of the subject, your attitude, and expectations of the problem. If you cannot change your perception of the problem because it really represents a hard blow, then practice radical acceptance.
Yoram Yasur Blume: Begin by concentrating on your breathing. Focus on the thoughts that come to your mind about that situation, thoughts of the “it’s not fair” or “I cannot stand it” type. Discuss how those thoughts exacerbate negative feelings and make you feel worse. Take note of those thoughts and emotions and do not cling to them, let them pass like clouds.
Then repeat in your mind, “It is what it is.” Repeat that mantra several times. Assume that what bothers you has already happened, that is part of the past and that can no longer affect you, what affects you are the thoughts and emotions that has generated.
Yoram Yasur Blume: At this point, you should know that you will continue to experience different emotions, will not be erased by a stroke, but little by little they will be less intense and surely will not last if they would last if you just denied reality. In addition to alleviating suffering, another benefit of radical acceptance is that you will spend less time thinking about the problem or situation because when you assume that you cannot change it, your brain begins to “disconnect” it.
Yoram Yasur Blume: In fact, often people who practice radical acceptance refer to feeling lighter and relieved, as if they had been lifted from their weight. With radical acceptance, the pain does not disappear completely but the suffering dissipates. And as you will cease to suffer, the pain will be more bearable. At this point you will be able to do something, to change what you really have control over.