What Radical Acceptance Means to Me

What I mean by “radical acceptance,” one of my vision words this year, is a shift in my approach to hearing people and meeting them where they are. Not everyone, all the time – so that’s a boundary. I don’t have energy for everyone, but when I can and have space, yes. And my people especially.

I will be radically accepting of someone else’s moods by allowing feelings to move through them, however they come, without trying to filter or nudge them into something easier for me.

I will be radically accepting of someone else’s body and how they choose to care for it. Anyone, anytime. I have my own body and that’s the only one I should be policing.

I will be radically accepting of how someone else uses their time. This includes my own children and my perception of their “wasted” time, which is their own.

I will be radically accepting of someone else’s views, personal and political, by staying open and curious, rather than readying myself to argue a position. I am open to hearing them and have actual conversation without the burden of my judgment. Yes, of course I will judge, because that is human. But a “discussion” based on my judgments is already a debate; debates don’t build bridges.

The idea of radical acceptance stems from all I’ve read the past year, all the news of people being “so polarized.” Yes, I do see divergent views and the widely skewed news stories supporting them. Yet that is not all I see, talking to neighbors and friends of different belief systems. Yes, I see disagreement. I have, always in my mind, peace and goodwill. And I am not afraid disagree; in fact I find agreeing to disagree an equitable end.

But at heart, we all want to be safe, eat and sleep well, feel connected, and contribute. If everything else is extra, I can accept someone else’s ideas, feelings and body as is. If I can shift my view and understand that different ideas don’t lessen or threaten my own, even in opposition.

By arguing my position, I am choosing ideas over relationship. By exploring different positions openly and with curiosity, I am fostering relationship – not robotically changing my mind, never fear!

I am hoping to open more dialogue this year, to learn more and different perspectives by using this starting point of mutual respect. And more than that, I choose radical acceptance to give the people I love a safe space to stand and move into a deeper connection with me by feeling heard and seen.

What does “radical acceptance” mean to you?

This opinion is my own, but I have been informed by the work of Akilah S. Richards, Krista Tippett (particularly her Civil Conversations podcast series) and Pam Laricchia. These podcasts have influenced my view of freedom by showing me all the different lenses we wear, and I have supported them with money donations at different times, as I’ve been able.

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