Que Sera, Sera: Time to Practice Radical Acceptance


Que Sera, Sera: Time to Practice Radical Acceptance
written by Tiffany Smith, MS, LPC-S, LMFT-S, NCC

None of us have lived through a pandemic. This is the first time the entire world is continuing to feel the effects of COVID19. The virus has made an impact across lands and cultures. We, as humans, have had to balance living in life as it used to be and tolerating life as it needs to be today. Change is hard for many people. Children especially can feel the effects of how this is impacting their life. What do you do when you get stuck in the mindset of “I wish this were over?” or “I wish things would go back to the way it used to be?” You practice Radical Acceptance.

Radical Acceptance is a Dialectic Behavioral Intervention developed by Marsha Linehan. It has a step by step approach to fleshing out what we are feeling and what is keeping us stuck. It forces us to shift our focus to not attempting to solve the unsolvable, but rather accept that we do not have control and must take it for what it is. This is used when we have zero control over events or outcomes in the present moment.

Step 1:
What is the situation that is causing you suffering that you do not have control?

  • What is bothering me so much?
  • What is it that I can’t let go of?
  • I wish things were different.
  • I am feeling _________________________?

Step 2:
Answer these questions to help shift your thinking.

  • The present moment is the only one I have control over.
  • Fighting something I cannot change only makes my emotions more intense.
  • The present moment is the result of thousands of variables from the past.
  • This moment is precisely as it should be, even though I might not like it.
  • I cannot change the past.
  • I will get through this, even if it is uncomfortable.
  • I accept this moment as it is.

Step 3:
Celebrate your freedom from suffering as you accept the present moment.

  • Today I will ______________________ to alleviate stress.
  • As I accept today, I will do __________________differently.

Radical Acceptance
is about coming to terms with the aspects of the situation that we cannot change. This means accepting reality as it is with our mind, body, and emotions. This allows for us to liberate the bottled-up energy then make a plan to change the situation for the better. (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, 2020).