Day 276: Radical Acceptance

For many years, I’ve been talking to people about the concept of radical acceptance.

Here’s Google’s definition of radical acceptance (attributed to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy):

Letting go of fighting reality. Accept your situation for what it is.

While that may sound simple, many people find radical acceptance challenging to understand, much less practice.

Here are some more attempts from me, to get at radical acceptance:

It’s acknowledging where you are, and being as aware as you can be about that.

It doesn’t mean approving or otherwise shifting how you feel about where you are.

And it has nothing to do with staying there, either.

Radical acceptance is allowing yourself to be as completely balanced and connected to where you are in this moment, no matter what the next moment will bring. (And the next moment will bring some sort of change, even if that change is imperceptible.)

I love talking — and writing —  to people about radical acceptance, because I think it’s helpful and important.

One thing I’m realizing, in this moment, is this: When I think of radical acceptance, I usually think of accepting difficult things — those situations that cause pain, fear, and suffering.

However, I’m aware of a different kind of radical acceptance, right now.

Radical acceptance of love, which can be challenging to understand, much less practice.

It’s immediately obvious to me why it takes work to accept painful situations. I wonder why love and other good things might be difficult, at times, to accept, too.

I do find it easy to accept those things that inspire love in my own heart, including natural beauty,






and music.


No matter where those things show up, I usually notice them.

However, I often do not notice the love that is out there, coming back at me.

Sometimes,  that love is more obvious. Sometimes, like this week,  it’s difficult to discount or ignore.

Radical acceptance. I’m working on it, in all ways.

Thanks to Marsha LinehanMonument Valley, Capybara Madness, my parents, Street Pianos,  Luke Jerram, radical accepters everywhere, and to you, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Day 276: Radical Acceptance

  1. I love reading something that takes my breath away and sets my wings a’flying!

    Thank you for the uplift this morning.

  2. Gene Phillips

    “Radical acceptance of love” is a phrase that will stick with me.

  3. I find it hard to accept love at times…I wonder what that says about me?

  4. Robert Weir

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post

    acceptance is something that I have never had

    I am now working on it and your words have helped me today

    I will follow up on your link now, the Internet is a wonderful place for me at the moment

    thanks Ann

  5. Mark

    So that explains those pianos all over the place. Thanks Ann!

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  7. So appreciate reading this post as I begin a new day. Beginning Day 1 to “accept my situation for what it is.”

  8. Linda Lintz


    Aknowledging love/Wow-great picture of your parents & the time period (the design of your mom’s bathing suit/hair & your dad’s shirt) as well as the wonderful feeling of that picture:)


  9. I think this a fantastic post and there is a lot of merit in this concept. I am currently reading a book “The Road Less Travelled” (its is an oldie) with the opening line “Life is Difficult”. It is written by a psychiatrist who claims that once we accept that life is difficult we transcend it and it no longer appears difficult.
    yes this is quite radical yet it seems to work.
    have a great day.

    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for all that you wrote here. The opening line of “The Road Less Travelled” reminded me of the title of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, “Full Catastrophe Living.”

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