Radical Acceptance – Freedom from Suffering



“Acceptance is the only way out of hell ”    Linehan

 Freedom from suffering requires acceptance from deep within of what is.  Let yourself go completely with what is. Let go of fighting  reality. 

  •  Pain creates suffering only when you refuse to accept the pain
  •  Deciding to tolerate the moment is Acceptance
  •  Acceptance is acknowledging what is
  • To Accept something is not the same as judging it good

Marsha Linehan Skills Training Manual., 1993.




During the holiday time many people who have survived complex trauma quietly suffer. For those who are struggling with depression, physical health problems, physical pain,   are substance affected,  or grieving; many wish they could fast forward to the spring. What if I told you that the trick is not in wishing, hoping, fixing, or finding the solution but rather accepting what is.  Marsha speaks to the idea of “returning over and over again to a commitment to  turning your mind and committing to acceptance over and over  again.”

In practising mindfulness we are in a way helping our mind practice acceptance. When we think of mindfulness, its like the  idea of staying where your hands are. For example, in the purpose that you set out for your day you find meaning in doing the tasks before you while not judging,  or getting stuck or carried away by your thoughts. When you do have a thought you simply notice the thought and return to the task before you.

For example, maybe your task, or small goal for the day is washing the dishes, and in that task of mind fully washing the dishes, you are wide awake noticing everything about washing those dishes. You notice the temperature of the water. You notice the feeling of the water on your hands. You notice the smell of the soap. You notice the feeling of the dishes etc. You are not thinking about a solution to your pain or depression. You are not thinking about all the regrets you have for things that have passed.  You are in the moment of the present. If you do have a thought,  you notice the thought and return to the task of washing the dishes.

Radical Acceptance is:

In letting go of the need to change, fix, control, there is freedom from suffering.  It’s in the letting go that one is relieved of the suffering and there lies the irony.

Here is what Marsha has stated on Acceptance from the DBT self-help website.


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