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Phase 3: Learning to heal and love by applying radical acceptance to your life.

Start Your Journey, Learning to heal and love by applying radical acceptance to your life.

When I went to the psychologist for my anxiety disorder, the only thing that was constantly said was: accept that your fear is there and then it will eventually go away on its own. But how? I feel overpowered by my fear and you are going to tell me to just accept it?! Because the psychologist was never able to convey what actual acceptance is, my journey took much longer than necessary. Accepting seems easy, just let it be how it is right? Actually, there is a whole base of mental and emotional understanding that underlies acceptance.

Tip: You can read more about the different phases and books in on our BookUp page.

Since my intense fears prevailed, I decided to ask Google out of desperation. Here I came across the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, it immediately appealed to me. It was only while reading this book that I understood what true acceptance meant and how I could learn to deal with it. Many examples and tips were given here to learn how to accept. It is especially very important to stay aware in the here and now and not to run away in everything. Even if the pain feels unbearable, it is important to stay with these painful feelings. You can say to yourself, "everything is okay" or a resounding "yes" to the fear or feeling you are having. This relaxes our resistance to the present moment and allows us to approach life with a more open heart.

'Total acceptance means that we no longer resist things that are unknown or frightening to us, or that have an emotional charge. It is a necessary antidote to the years in which we neglected ourselves, judged ourselves and treated ourselves harshly, years in which we denied what we were experiencing at any given moment. Total acceptance is the willingness to accept ourselves and our lives as they are. A moment of total acceptance is a moment of authentic freedom.' - Tara Brach

After reading this book for a longer period of time, I managed to embrace my feelings more. No matter how fierce they were! During our healing process it is important to find like-minded people or like-minded stories. This makes us feel less separated from the world and less lonely. You can find like-minded people in books, for example, but there is also a lot to find online. For me it was important to be able to tell my story to someone, luckily this was largely possible with my girlfriend. It's important to talk about your feelings with someone, this is even possible over the internet. It's about being able to tell your story, so that you can feel heard during this difficult period. If there really isn't anyone around you who wants to talk about it, it's best to write your story down and try to talk to yourself (of course it does not have to be out loud). You can still express your feelings and that way you can feel more heard. Then start asking questions to yourself such as: And how are you feeling? Could I do something to make you feel better? What do you actually need right now?

Tara Brach's book mainly provides many insights and confronts us with our current life. Current Western culture is mainly based on the story of Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden. We are born sinful and therefore have no right to be happy. Therefore, we should constantly strive to work more and harder, self-effacing and always rushing to prove ourselves once and for all. It is therefore not surprising that we are ashamed of our weaknesses and fears. In our culture it has therefore become normal not to have close family ties and therefore we often feel alone and like outsiders. We are taught from an early age that every connection involves proving to ourselves that we are worth it and that there is something wrong with us, the message that also sounded in the garden of Eden. When we begin to think of ourselves in this way, we become caught in the trance of unworthiness.

"The feeling of disconnection is a greater plague today than leprosy or tuberculosis." In our society, this disease has reached epidemic proportions. We yearn to belong, but feel we don't deserve it.' - Mother Teresa, Tara Brach

When we become aware of this background information, we can begin our healing journey. The Buddha said that we are at the beginning of freedom when we investigate and gain clear insight into the cause of all our suffering. Suffering and dissatisfaction affects every human being, when we fully recognize its existence, we take the first step on the path of awareness. It is important to fully accept our life as it is and to accept our imperfection. Imperfection is not an individual problem: it is an important part of human existence. When we do this we will stop worrying about how to change and we will see that there is nothing wrong with us.

“We can be released from our cage when we accept absolutely everything that we encounter in ourselves and our lives, and experience each moment as it is with full awareness and serious attention. By accepting absolutely everything, I mean that we become aware of what is going on in our bodies and minds at any given time, and we don't try to control, judge, or deny it. I don't mean that we should put up with bad behavior from ourselves and others. I refer to an inner process in which we learn to accept what we experience in the present moment. - Tara Brach

It is important not to rush things during our healing process. Of course it is nice to be less bothered by, for example, intense fears or anger outbursts. I also wanted to function 'normally' as quickly as possible. But since intense traumas are not built up in one day, they cannot disappear in one day either. If you have experienced intense trauma, it can take years to heal. That's why my tip is: keep listening to your body! I didn't do this enough myself and I destroyed myself more than helped myself up. This way your process will take even longer. If you listen to yourself you can at least make your process more bearable and loving.

Radical Acceptance is a book I recommend to everyone. Because it has changed my life. I only recommend breaking patterns for people who cannot live the life they would like due to persistent behavior, or cannot become aware of the present moment because of their patterns. If not, I would move on to the next stage.

In the next phase, the bigger picture is discussed. Much has been learned and that is why it is important to re-examine our values. Are they really my values ​​or have my parents/society imposed them? And how can you learn to heal in a toxic society? This is all discussed in the next stage.

A summary of the next phase will follow soon!


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