I while ago I wrote a small blog on Radical Acceptance. Which basically means fully and with out questioning accepting things in life, then taking action to deal with those things we can not change. Accepting that these things happened then moving forward, finding solutions is the next step. We look at what happened and say yes this is what happen and I will learn from this. I will acknowledge the emotional and the physical reactions that happen to me and realize that it was not a good thing. But it happened and now I will accept that, I can not change it, I don’t have to relive it, I don’t have to carry the emotions with me any longer. In fact I can learn from this situation and then not let it happen again because I have accepted it, learned from it.
Setting boundaries is how we take the power back! We look at the situation that happened, we accept everything that happen. It is hard because you have to accept the emotion whether it is hate, anger, humiliation, embarrassment, sadness you have to accept it. You are a human and feeling these emotions means that you are like everyone else on the planet, there are no exceptions…You have to accept that you felt this way. Also you have to acknowledge how your body reacted because your mind and body are connected, our thoughts, our emotions, all working together. Again, like or not you are human and there is nothing you can do to change that.
After you accept all this, you have to be honest with what happened and our reactions. You have to go through the situation and then say yes! this happened and now it is over and I am stronger because I survived. So now you set a boundary and not allow that situation from the past to hurt you or control you in the future. In doing so you have closed that situation, you have learned from it and you take pride in the fact that you have changed this experience into a learning opportunity. You can now set a boundary so it will not happen again.
When you set your boundary, it will feel uncomfortable at first because it is something new to you and for so long you felt more comfortable letting this situation control you because you knew what it did and how you felt. Believe it or not you accept the pain that went along with it. But now when you set the new boundary to stop this situation, you will see the results instantly. The new emotions and feelings will far out weigh the old ones in wonder full ways. The new feelings will be pride, because you took the step to not get hurt any more. Happiness because you will not feel the same way anymore. You will not allow it to have the power it once had over you. You will elevate your self esteem because you are now standing up for your self and you feel so good about it.
Over the last 5 years I have had to use radical acceptance and have had to set big boundaries in all area’s of my life. Whether it was at work,my personal life, my professional life as an author and public speaker. When I set theses boundaries I always looked at each situation, I carefully took notice of all my feelings I have both emotional and physical, I look at the cold hard truth and then say this has to stop for my health.
A boundary that I set this summer was to stop booking so many signings on weekends because I was missing my family on Saturdays. I had to look at what I was doing and why I was doing it. Sure, I was out helping people and talking openly and doing what I love, but I was also working a 40 hour week and then adding and extra day to that work week. In the past I would have just said that is something I have to do to accomplish what I want to accomplish. Then I would have just keep doing what I was doing despite how I truly felt and what my body was telling me.
But now I looked at it differently, I decided that when summer came I wanted to be with my family, I want to swim, have fun, I wanted to enjoy my life so I scaled back all my signings and only did half or less through the summer. I was scared at first because I wasn’t going to be doing what I thought was best for myself when it came to my books and helping people. If I wasn’t out doing my thing people would not be seeing me, talking with me, I would not be helping people. But who is the most important person in my life? Me and if I was not happy then nothing else would fall into place. Setting this boundary allowed me to have one of the greatest summers ever with my family and it only happened because I choose to put up that boundary and stick to it.
Another boundary that I have started to talk about, which I take great pride in is, 5 years ago I stopped drinking. I learn that the only way I was going to fight my depression was to stop feeding my body a depressant. There was no way I could learn to fight my depression if I was feeding it with my own hand. This was a hard decision because I was always in bars playing in bands. The environment’s I was in also feed my depression and that was a huge eye opener. When I stopped drinking I stopped playing in bands. I looked at all the stress and all the negative emotions that were being created in my life from both drinking and being in a bar environment every weekend. It was not easy because I had grown accustom to that life style and all that went with it. I had actually just accepted that my life was going to be this way, that that was who I was. But when I set my boundary and said NO this is not who I am, I do not like being hung over, feeling guilty, being drunk and all the other horrible things that went along with drinking and playing music in bars, it felt good. It felt good to finally be honest and accept this change.
I had hard times where I thought I had no friends; the phone never rang on my side. I learned quickly that if I wanted to be friends with those musicians and the other people connected to that life style they were still there stuck in the same places doing the same things. I learned quickly who my friends were in that world very fast and the people who were just acquaintances. I still have a family like relation ship with a select few. When I look at this boundary I set by not drinking anymore and not playing music in bars I am proud! This boundary stands for so much more in my life then ever being a bar musician did. I take great pride in being sober for 5 years. I accepted what was happening in my life, I looked at my reactions, my emotions and I said “I do not want to feel this way anymore” and I stopped! I ended that chapter and I moved forward.
This lesson that I learned, I use as an example in my everyday life when I set boundaries. Setting boundary’s is a sign of strength, standing up and saying I accept that this happened and I will not allow it to affect me again is a super power! Having this super power is all about caring and loving one self. Radical Acceptance is all about being honest and accepting things in life and setting boundaries, moving forward. Taking the steps to better oneself.
I use Radical Acceptance in my everyday life, I have boundaries that I have set that are strong, I take great pride in them! Set some boundaries for your self, accept that you are worth it, treat yourself with love and kindness and learn that saying NO is a good thing.
“Only With open conversation can we break the stigma behind depression, let’s start talking and do it together”