The term radical acceptance is one I have grown to really embrace and teach to loved ones, clients and those around me.
A few weeks ago, before lockdown, I had lunch with a friend of mine, Elise and she asked me a powerful question. A question which I’ve journaled on in the past and asked my clients in their onboarding questionnaire.
This question is: “what image/legacy would you like to give to your daughters?”
For me, I carved a new concept, a new principle that I called in the moment ‘radical acceptance’. So when I said it, tears rolled down my cheeks.
Indeed, I was picturing my daughters burying me and sharing how I had been an example of radical acceptance, showing them that it is ok to be different, to be authentically who you are, unapologetically as long as you always lead from your heart. I’ve suffered for a long time with ADHD, hypersensitivity and have not really ‘fit in the box’, so to speak. I’ve refrained from my dream for too long.
Since I stepped up to be who I’m meant to be, everything flows. Alignment is really something that I experience daily. Remember my Mission to March, my house, my first month full time in Essential Shift - read more about it here.
The next day, over lunch, I talked to Mariah, from Content Queen, as we were doing the quarterly review for my business and for my marketing (yes she is my amazing marketing partner in my business). I was so excited about this concept. I envision being known as Brene Brown is for vulnerability, but for acceptance. Of course, a lot of others had spoken about it already.
Still, I want to share a bit more as I start drafting this concept deeper to maybe one day write a book about it. So, let me know if you like it so I can expand my ‘channelling’ and research on it. I know my mission here is to heal, so it probably starts with healing the heart, blending spirituality, strategy and healing inspired from chakras system, mindfulness, energetic healing and Otto Scharmer theory U - just to name a few.
What do I mean by radical acceptance?
According to Very Well Mind, the definition of radical acceptance is “the ability to accept situations that are outside of your control without judging them, which in turn reduces the suffering that is caused by them”.
For me, radical acceptance is all about the mystery of love and there is no love for yourself and others without self-acceptance, acceptance of others, which I call radical acceptance. You may call it unconditional love or compassion or use another word.
It is still quite new and it will be coined over the next few months.
It is also about accepting and loving yourself to the negative as well as the positive. I’m not pro positive thinking. It is about allowing grief, disappointment, as well as joy and fulfilment for the radical acceptance to be present. I still need to process the fact that for me, radical acceptance is having a balanced heart.
In order to love, there has to be someone inside, a connection to the heart and soul.
Soulful love as Thomas Moore says it is about worshipping the unique self.
Let me refer to a quote from Thomas Moore that is powerful enough to illustrate this concept of radical acceptance:
“Being a friend to yourself is no mere metaphor or purely sentimental idea. It is the basis of all relationships because it is a fundamental recognition of Soul.”
I realise that lots of my clients have not yet discovered, connected, understood, allowed the person that lives inside their heart to be listened to, heard, felt. A connection with the heart of the heart is the beginning of a healing journey.
That’s why after a heart centered meditation, I love making them do the exercise of asking “who are you” for at least 15 mins and for them to reply: ‘ I am xxx’. It often makes them cry (try it) as they realise how much they don’t live inside themselves.
It all starts with awareness as you know, and I’m here to invite you to start where you are.
Keeping your mind and more importantly heart open.
How to develop radical acceptance?
Developing radical acceptance is all about finding a way to shorten the longest journey yet the closest one that exists between your head and your heart.
If you’ve listened to one of my meditations, you may have heard me saying: ‘bow your head to your heart to show how you’re going to lead from your heart’. I’ve been taught this way since the age of five. Trusting my heart.
Let me quote Jack Kornfield, which I’ll mention in the final notes of this article: “The mind thinks of the self as separate, the heart knows better”.
Let me go through the three ways to develop radical acceptance for yourself.
The three ways to develop radical acceptance
(1) Healing your heart chakra
Indeed, the heart chakra, is one of the most, if not the most important of your chakra. The heart chakra is about the right to love and be loved. How can you do that without radical acceptance?
To heal the heart is to reunite, mind and body, the mystical and the mundane, self and other into an integrated whole.
The heart chakra is at the very heart of the chakra system, with a colour green. Think about the plants which push toward the sun (universe, divine masculine) from their roots inside the soil (the earth, divine feminine), humans are also pulled in both directions and it is about leading from the heart, from the middle point.
When healing the heart we are accessing the most vulnerable and sacred parts within ourselves as it is connected to our soul.
(2) Reflecting on your self-love, self-acceptance, self-compassion
Every time you reflect on who you are, you integrate more and more pieces of yourself, your soul, your uniqueness. A quote from Oscar Wilde to illustrate it: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
As mentioned above, it is needed for radical acceptance. You can more wholeheartedly accept yourself and others. What do you need to accept in yourself? What shadows, wounds do you need to heal? Who do you need to forgive?
For instance, if you’ve accepted your own inner child wound, you can better accept that aspect in someone else.
(3) Connecting with Goddess Isis Archetype
Goddess Isis illustrates really well for me the radical acceptance concept. I made my Goddess Embodiment Sisters do an exercise of listing the various parts of themselves and making them speak to one another.
Here is what it looked like:
(1) Make a list of the various parts of yourself. For example, the clown, the inner child, etc.
Next to each name, write a few words describing how you perceive this part of yourself.
(2) After the description, write down what you think each part wants.
For example: the inner child might want to have fun.
(3) Ponder the following questions: How often do these parts succeed in getting what they want? How realistic are their desires? What can be done to bring them into wholeness?
(4) Try to connect different parts together: who relates to whom?
For example: Does the clown entertain the sad inner child?
(5) If you see parts that clearly need to improve their relationship, write a dialogue between them, as if you were writing a play. See how the dynamics develop. Let the dialogue continue until some kind of resolution occurs.
In my Goddess Embodiment Sisterhood, we go through my GODDESS Method and actually I recorded a video about Goddess Isis and it is the same week that the ‘intuitive download’ on ‘Radical acceptance’ came to me.
Goddess Isis said, “learn yourself and then trust what you have found to be true.” As we tune into our own knowing, we also embrace the skill of truly listening to others around us. We do so to really hear and understand what they are saying. It allows us to get to a place of inner and outer clarity.
Goddess Isis represents the power of peace, nurturing and magic. She is a Goddess that represents some of the more attractive qualities that we can develop within ourselves and ones work towards a more balanced (and loved) world.
Your heart brings you to a place of radical acceptance and openness that allows our soul to be still, blissful and at peace without any constriction. I wish that for every one of us and I’m excited to guide you on that healing journey.
I’m convinced that radical acceptance can not only help individual souls but also help us embrace and heal the collective, especially in the current context with reconciliation and NAIDOC week happening in Australia.
To go deeper, and before I write my own book on radical acceptance, I’d recommend reading one of my favourite books that I always recommend to my clients: A Path with Heart from Jack Kornfield.
Untamed from Glennon Doyle is also a great book to read that approaches this concept in a different way.
Also, you can explore Chogyam Trungpa’s work, which I admire deeply. Sharing one last quote that illustrates radical acceptance well: “In order to develop love - universal Love, Cosmic Love, whatever you would like to call it - one must accept the whole situation of life as it is, both the light and the dark, the good and the bad” (Chogyam Trungpa).
If you want to go deeper and learn more about radical acceptance, connect with me on Instagram, I would love to talk more about it with you!