Radical acceptance embraces that idea that when we are experiencing pain, as well as non-acceptance of a situation, we experience more suffering.

When we are able to change non-acceptance, we can reduce that pain that we experience. If we are fighting back at reality, or our interpretation of reality, we increase our distress as we are now dealing with both the pain of the event as well as our reaction to the event.

Radically accepting a situation is not necessarily easy at first, but with practice, it can greatly assist you in navigating through difficult situations.

When you radically accept something,

  • You accept the situation for what it is
  • You stop fighting reality
  • You acknowledge the facts of the situation
  • Focus on being non-judgmental
  • Live in the present moment
  • You do not condone anyone else’s behavior, you acknowledge that it existed


You are running late to your job because your roommate had their car parked behind yours in the drive way. It took you 15 minutes to get in touch with your roommate and you ended up taking using a rideshare app to get a ride to work. You will be late to a class that you are struggling in and are furious at your roommate, as this was not the first time this happened.

SDSU is a 20 minute drive from where you live and you decide to practice radical acceptance while en route.

You notice you had some of the following thoughts:

  • "I can’t believe he did this to me again. He is such an idiot."
  • "I am going to lose my job. It was hard enough, but now I bet my manager will hate me for walking in late."
  • "Why did this have to happen to me again!?"
You then try to observe the situation.
  • "My roommate parked behind me and I am running late to work. I am upset and worried about this situation."
  • "I am in this situation and I did not choose to be in it. But I cannot change what has already happened and I am going to choose to accept this situation for what it is."

You may need to remind yourself of this a few times.

  • You then decide to use your grounding techniques to bring you back to the present moment. You focus on the sounds you hear (radio playing softly, the hum of traffic outside, wind blowing through a small crack in a window). You also have a deep breathing app on your phone and start to use it.
Along with practicing radical acceptance, you may find it helpful to practice self soothing and grounding techniques. These can be very helpful to assist you in decreasing distress in difficult situations.


Click here to explore more. If you are able to identify your self talk, you will find that it can be easier to accept your thoughts. 
Write out what your specific thoughts would be if you used radical acceptance.
Click on the self soothing section here and the grounding section here to explore these options.