What's radical about acceptance, you might ask. I accept (and reject) things all the time. Nothing new about that.
Yesterday I talked about the two ways we can see ourselves. One is as a character or a role. So the plot changes (the situation changes in our lives) but we don't. We keep playing the same role. The other view is as a process, a work-in-progress. In that view, when things change—as they always do in life—we also have the possibility of change. We have choices about how to respond to the changes that come our way.
Radical acceptance is the term used when, in that second view, you are able to say: "It is what it is." Sometimes you might say that in a resigned way, as though you're surrendering to something; but, doggone it, you're not going to be happy about it. Radical acceptance means that you're not surrendering—you really have accepted the fact that the current situation is the new normal. So now your questions are: What will I choose to do about it? How will I change to live with these new changes in and around me?
The difference may sound slight in theory. But as you live it out in your daily life, it will make a huge difference. Radical acceptance puts you in a totally different frame of mind from the surrender. It means you are empowered to make the choices you think are right for you. It means you don't see yourself as the victim of change. You can roll with the punches and stay flexible. Tough to do sometimes, isn't it? But it leads to a more empowered and contented life. I'd love to hear your experiences with change and acceptance—and encourage you to leave a comment below. (Your email isn't seen and you don't even have to put your name on the comment if you don't wish.)