Our Road To Reality

As I’ve traveled along the road of learning Mindfulness and DBT skills, I have often come across the term of Radical Acceptance. It is a theory that has some complexity to it, but it’s definition is summarized as totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind; it also is established to help people let go of what isn’t possible.

It also is designed as a philosophy to help us stop fighting reality, and stop fighting to change the things we cannot change. Learning to live despite any pain that comes along.

Radical Acceptance is just the first step and skill that we work to master in the much larger scale Reality Acceptance. It seems as if there is often an invisible stop sign after that radical stage, and we don’t dig deeper into the rest of the skills of reality acceptance.

So, as we should all know by now, the first stage of reality acceptance is radical acceptance. We should understand its concept so far, and if anything, it’s term itself helps define it. I take the word radical to be similar to the word “total.” So it’s a total acceptance.

There is another part that is called Turning the Mind. What this is really about, is something that resembles the ol’ theories of “learning by repetition, muscle memory, etc etc.” It is determined that we rarely if ever, accept the uncomfortable and unacceptable realities as soon as we learn of them.

This is something that takes much time, and multiple efforts in order for us to get to a comfortable state where we can accept them. After all those multiple times, we seem to begin to learn how to accept these things.

After repetition, we become able to choose acceptance. This is where we really begin the real road of acceptance.

We get to the next step which is called Willingness. Author Gerald May states the following about this. He states “Willingness implies a surrendering of one’s self-separateness, an entering into, an immersion in the deepest processes of life itself.”

It’s really all about having the will and courage to accept and surrender. It is just another form of accepting those things that we are very uncomfortable with. I have one main personal statement I have in my mind about this uncomfort.

Our uncomfort does not necessarily define as wrong.

There are things that are called Half-Smiling and Willing Hands. They are in the Distress Tolerance phase, and they can be considered tools that assist us in successfully getting through a problem or crisis. It too is part of the entire process of accepting those uncomfortable or not so loved realities we all face in life. At the same time, it is still on the level of aiding through those more difficult processes.

The term “half smile” itself has a interesting story. At least in my opinion. It is not a Joker sized evil grin, nor is it a completely fake smile either. It is just a very subtle minor smile. Enough to where we can feel the slight difference in our cheeks. Again, I stress the word subtle though.

Experts state recently that there is research proving that this minor half smile has the ability to almost instantly change our minds in a way where anxiety and uncomfortableness is alleviated. Some of the studies are quite new, but I attest from my own trials that I believe this to be true. Other proof relies on the facts that emotions are somewhat controlled but the expressions on our faces.

The other half of this, the Willing Hands, is referencing the change from some angry, possible white knuckling, to a relaxed, open handed change. We have likely felt the white knuckling while in a situation like stop and go traffic.

Fear, worry, apprehension, facing the unknown, can all relate to this. That quick and basic movement of changing the hands too greatly can affect our emotions.

So, we are now taken to the last part which is about the Mindfulness of Current Thoughts. When I hear this, I think back to the fact that the title itself seems to be what I feel the almost absolute definition of Mindfulness is.

What I have learned about Mindfulness takes me to that place where I am with my thoughts and feelings in Real Time. I’m working to keep an awareness of what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. In both time concepts. meaning as they are unfolding, and in the future when I’m looking back.

This theory is a good way to give us a better ability to change our thoughts and feelings when they are negative, wrong or inappropriate. When we are mindfully approaching them, we are at the same time, more mindful of the scenarios and scenes that they are being attached to.

All in the all, this concept of Reality Acceptance is very helpful. I have utilized so many of the tools I have learned in my life on a daily basis. It isn’t something we can master overnight. But, these are great philosophies to help mold us and our minds into better logic, reacting, and decision making. It’s in an depth road, but I’m glad to be traveling it.

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