• Written by Clo Nickel

Radical Acceptance

Mantra: It Is What It Is

Radical Acceptance means accepting ourselves and reality as it is, rather than as we would like it to be.

To be clear, radical acceptance does not mean that we approve, or even like the situation. It does not even mean that we need to forgive. It means that we make the conscious choice to suffer less. It is the acknowledgement that as long as we are alive, we will always have challenges in our lives This is unavoidable. However, the more we fight with the situation or engage in non-acceptance, the more we are likely to suffer. The more we can practice accepting the situation, the less likely we are to suffer. This is especially true of the situations in our lives that we cannot control.

In order to do this, we can begin to avoid saying things to ourselves such as this should or shouldn’t be happening, it is happening. They should or should not be this way, they are that way. I should or should not be this way, for now, I am this way. I shouldn’t be feeling this way, for now, I am feeling this way. In fact, a critical distinction for practicing radical acceptance, is that sometimes the foremost aspect of a situation that we need to accept is our feelings about the situation, rather than the situation itself.

Fighting reality or refusing to accept reality can keep us stuck in unhappiness, bitterness, anger, sadness, or shame. Once reality is accepted, a deep calmness usually follows and significant changes can happen. Acceptance is also not passive resignation. Paradoxically, it is usually after we fully accept the reality of our situation that we are then empowered to make clear wise choices.


1. What is a situation that you say this should or should not be happening or, they should not be this way or, I should or should not be feeling this way. Experiment with what happens when you practice applying radical acceptance to this situation. Recite to yourself, it is what it is.

Recommended books: Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach


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