When you are emotionally sensitive or have Borderline Personality Disorder, sitting with uncomfortable emotions or situations can be very difficult — excruciating, even. But, there is a way to reduce our suffering and better cope. Stick with me here…
A concept in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and in Mindfulness practices that are thousands of years old, is Radical Acceptance. This means fully accepting and embracing the moment, exactly as it is. Even if we don’t like it. Even if we wish it were different. Even if we want it to change.
The paradox of change is that the present moment is something we must fully accept the way it is before we can make any type of shift or change.
In my experience and my observations of other humans, a piece that gets in the way of truly accepting the moment is equating acceptance with approval. But the truth is, we don’t have to like, approve of, or condone something in order to take the first step of looking it square in the eye, saying, “I see you. I know you’re there. I accept that this is the reality of this moment,” and then deciding what to do from there.
I read recently one of the most brilliant articles I’ve come across on Radical Acceptance in quite some time. It’s called, “Being ‘In’ The Moment When We Don’t ‘Like’ The Moment” by Nancy Colier, LCSW, Rev. In this article, Nancy talks about something that I have personally struggled with when it comes to acceptance: Not liking the moment. It has been very difficult for me to reconcile how to accept a moment if I do not like what is happening in it.
“…Not wanting is simply included in the “what is”… Our dislike of the moment is part of and not a contradiction to our presence. Being able to be in the moments we don’t want is a challenge that requires different skills than being in the moments we want (which also takes skill). Experiencing what is, as it is, along with our dislike of it, forms a base of compassion for ourselves—that we are living this hard moment and it is painful and we want it to be otherwise and it is what is so right now. All are true—all at once. This self-compassion, of diving into the whole of what is, regardless of the difficulty that inspires it, is always healing and always carries the feel of a loving embrace.”
I am going to be working on this practice and remembering that not liking what is happening in the moment is part of what is happening in the moment. This is an all-inclusive moment. Deep stuff!
Thank you for reading.