Practice Radical Acceptance to Navigate Change

My hamstrings shouted at me.

As I attempted to sprint for the third round of 60 seconds, my strides slowed. I was running out of gas.

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise…

I’ve gone for a run maybe two times in the last 4 months. I’m not in good running shape.

I used to be a lot better at running. I was faster. I could run longer without stopping.

But that reality has changed, because my priorities have changed. I don’t play running intensive sports like Ultimate anymore. I spend my time rock climbing, doing yoga, and lifting weights.

In most ways, I’m a better mover than ever before! I’m stronger and more flexible. But despite that, I still can’t do some of the things that I used to be able to do.

A handful of years ago, this would have frustrated me to no end.

But today, I’m at peace with it, largely thanks to my mindfulness practice.

I accept the reality that my body is not the same as it once was.

No judgement zone

Mindfulness is all about presence. It guides you to pay attention to moment you’re in, without judgment.

To be fully present, you need to be at peace with your current circumstances, regardless of what they may be. Accept your emotions, the sensations in your body, and the activity in your environment for what it is.

It’s neither good or bad, it just is!

This is relatively easy to do in a normal day. You’re used to the way things are, so it’s easy to accept them.

But it’s much harder when things change suddenly. Our natural reaction is to judge the situation.

You get caught in the rain on your walk home from work. Everything is soaked. You get upset.

You’re out of the house and your phone dies. Right as you were going to make a call! You get angry.

Humans are bad at adjusting to change

When something in the world changes on us, we’re caught off guard. The present reality no longer aligns with our expectations. We wish it had gone according to plan, and hold on that vision in our head.

We become anchored to the past.

Stuck in a reality that no longer exists.

Refusing to embrace the present moment can be a huge issue.

When we fail to accept the new reality for what it is, we can’t function properly within it. We rationalize bad decisions. We get grumpy and upset. We go into a downward spiral.

Emotional reactions to change are normal. They happen automatically.

But we can take a different path to avoid getting pulled into a negative place.

Stop resisting reality

The mindful approach to new and challenging situations starts with radical acceptance.

That first word, radical, is important. It means you are completely, totally, entirely embracing the present moment for what it is. You are not resisting reality.

Radical acceptance prevents you from losing your cool in tough situations. It focuses you on what’s important, and makes it easier to be solution-oriented.

Caught in the rain? It’s uncomfortable at first, but you realize it’s no big deal. You’ll be home soon enough. Your clothes will dry.

Phone died when you’re out running errands? It’s disruptive to your plans at first. But it’s okay. Your friend will understand why you didn’t call them back right away.

Practice radical acceptance

This week, shift from resisting to accepting. It may take time, but you’ll notice profound changes in your mental state.

You’ll frown less and smile more. You’ll naturally stay more solution-oriented.

So take a deep breath, and embrace today. There’s never been a better day to show the world what you’re made of.

Onward! 🙂