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Oh So Radical

Posted May 10 2010 8:41am

I wanted to recap what we covered in last week’s DBT group. Scroll down for the food talk ;)

The current module is ‘Distress Tolerance’ (which I have talked about here and here ) and last week we covered radical acceptance. In short, accepting what is happening right here/right now rather than fighting it.

The essence of this is drawn from Buddhism:

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”

Pain is a part of life. Buddhism and DBT are in agreement that suffering only comes into this when we fight the reality by not accepting it. If we simply embrace the pain and accept it as just a passing feeling, there is no suffering. If we just step back, observe the feeling/situation and accept it, it hurts less. It’s just there. Then it passes.

Example: Imagine you are driving and get caught in traffic. You have choices here- there is nothing you can do about the traffic. You are stuck in your car and running late. You can either sit back and accept that there is nothing you can do except wait until the roads clear. Or you can get angry, beat yourself up for not taking a different route and start yelling at the cars for them to move. Either way, you are going to be stuck there for a while.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”

-Charles Swindoll

Few notes:

  • Freedom from suffering requires full acceptance of what is. It is letting go of fighting reality and just going with the flow of the situation.
  • Pain creates suffering only when you refuse to accept the pain. Deciding to tolerate that moment of pain without acting on it is acceptance.
  • To accept something is not the same as judging it to be good.


This isn’t an easy thing to do. Let’s face it- sometimes You lose your job, a relationship falls apart, you or a loved one is hurt in some way. It isn’t fair- there is often no rhyme or reason to it. You didn’t plan for this, weren’t ready to deal with it and have a hundred questions that can’t be answered. It’s easy to fall apart when life throws you a blow. It’s natural to want to blame someone or analyze the situation and wonder where you went wrong or what you could have done differently. Getting angry about life’s injustices won’t change the fact that things are often random and beyond our control, and what’s happened has happened.

At some point, you have to move on. You can’t live your life thinking, “what if” and replaying the past over and over again. The sooner you accept the situation, the sooner your suffering ends. You might still feel the same pain and anger, but there is a sense of peace having accepted the reality.

[Again, this is NOT the same as judging the situation as good or acceptable- this is about accepting the situation, regardless of what it is/how it makes you feel, in order to allow you to act from THIS moment onwards]

Life happens, and it isn’t always easy. You can get angry and fight it, or look at dealing with life’s challenges as the most rewarding challenge of all. You might not get what you want in the way hoped to, but you can work on becoming the kind of person you want to be no matter what happens.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference…”

- serenity prayer, AA


Lighter stuff, yes?

I tried something new for breakfast:

Picture or Video 1281

A Trek Flapjack which was sent for me to sample.

Picture or Video 1280

Love the labels :)

It was more crumbly than I expected, and not too sweet. Perfect topping for blueberries and Fage .

Picture or Video 1282

Then I hit up the gym. There are new cardio machines and the elliptical has this cool feature that draws a graph as you workout. Mine looked kind of  like this:

Picture or Video 1286

No, I did not die. I don’t think the heart rate monitor works. Still cool though!

The theme for the rest of the day so far has been ‘indecisive’…

Lunch: Sandwich or salad? Salmon or tuna? Pasta or rice?

Picture or Video 1284 Tuna and bean pasta salad

Snack: Protein cake or yogurt mess? Or protein bar? Which flavour?

Picture or Video 1285

Toasted Coconut Carbrite bar

That is pretty much my day so far…rest of the afternoon is homework, catching up with blogs, dinner and Glee !


  1. Do you find it easy to accept situations outwith your control, or do you get angry and upset? I’ve gotten better at this, but only when there isn’t a person to blame (ie, stuck in traffic, bad weather, etc). When I feel wrong/hurt by somebody, it’s much harder to just accept things.
  2. What is your favourite pasta dish? I have never met a pasta meal I didn’t like- if I had to pick one, it would probably be a linguine with creamy tomato sauce and grilled chicken. Or penne with pesto. Or macaroni cheese Okay, I can’t pick just one…

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