Every month, The Sunset Project board member Kevin O'Brien breaks down news articles, stories, and people that he finds interesting and relatable to The Sunset Project's mission!
Ok, picture this: you’re on a bus, and this bus is your mind (humor me for a second, would you?) You are the bus driver, in control of your mind. Those on the bus are your characteristics; it can be anything you like about yourself. Take a minute to think about what that is... now out of nowhere come things you absolutely despise about yourself. ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, STRESS, SELF-IMAGE, AND ALL YOUR INSECURITIES! They are feverishly waiting to step on the bus. What do you do?
When it’s boiled down, you’re mostly left with two options: fight for your life trying to kick these abominations off the bus, which is probably one of my first reactions in terms of a fight or flight response. I’d either try to kick them off or withdraw out of fear. I don’t want to face those aspects of myself, I don’t know who does! There is perhaps another option, and that is to accept that they are on the bus, and they are not leaving until they reach their destination. What I am suggesting is that we should accept that sometimes our worst traits can emerge from the surface even if we try to fight them.
Acceptance is certainly not an easy thing to do. It’s an ongoing process of acknowledging that life is a constant cycle of ups and downs. It is essentially impossible to always get what you want. How we handle loss is beyond important, and one way to do this is through radical acceptance. This is a technique used in therapy to increase tolerance with distress in one’s life. It sounds super easy to do, accept the current situation you’re in even if it’s not the most ideal. It can certainly be easier said than done. If you’re driving down the highway, and someone cuts you off, some reactions might be to yell, tailgate them, or maybe even have a few choice words for them. This would be an excellent opportunity to practice radical acceptance. You don’t have to like the situation at all, but this technique is simply a way of assessing what you do and don’t have control over.
This is not meant to downplay any emotions you’re feeling or pain it’s causing. It is meant to paint an objective picture of the event. Our emotions can often get the best of us and distort the situation from time to time. Not only does this have to be used in a situation, but it can be used about those aspects of ourselves that we despise. Accepting those characteristics, so that we may allow ourselves to move forward. This does not provide the long-term answers to combat issues like anxiety, but it’s a start towards empowering and owning every aspect of yourself.
I am most definitely an anxious person. It’s something I do not love about myself. Every day is a maintenance check to make sure that it does not win and control my behavior and emotions. Some days are better than others, but it’s truly a balance like many things in life. I am constantly running maintenance on my mind and body, like a car. If left unchecked, the list of problems will only be piled on more. My hope is that this little blurb can get you to change your attitudes and feel empowered over your flaws. Own them, accept them, and learn to live with them. It’s a small but important step towards positive progress. If radical acceptance is a new skill, I hope you may find it useful and something you can add to your life skills toolbox!
The Take Home:
My hope is that this little blurb can get you to change your attitudes and feel empowered over your flaws. Own them, accept them, and learn to live with them. It’s a small but important step towards positive progress. If radical acceptance is a new skill, I hope you may find it useful and something you can add to your life skills toolbox!
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