What standing in a torrential downpour taught me about radical acceptance
I am going to a big, fancy wedding in mid-July and so had to buy a big, fancy gown to wear. This also necessitated a new pair of shoes, what I call “girl shoes.” I don’t wear girl shoes very often any more. Since I broke my ankle and I am quite unsteady on my feet because of my brain injury, the idea of me wearing heels at all fills me with great trepidation. But, I care about this person who is getting married and I don’t want to disappoint or embarrass him. So, I bought a nice pair of girl shoes with a very low, 1” heel. The only problem was that the soles were very slippery which concerned me because I do not want to fall in my beautiful gown. When I bought this dress I also bought a beautiful necklace and earring set and I told him that I am going to be doing my very best Princess Diana imitation.
Because of the slippery soles, I took the shoes into my friendly cobbler and had them resoled with a rubber sole. $45.00 -- a good deal if it will keep me from falling. I was told to come back in two weeks to pick them up.
The day I went to get them it was threatening rain all morning but I had another appointment so I decided to maximize my bus tickets and go pick them up directly after my earlier appointment.
They looked beautiful and I was so very pleased when I saw them. I put them into a plastic bag and out I went to catch my bus and head back home after a successful outing.sealed it shut and it’s a good thing I did because I had no sooner left the building when it started to pour rain.
Within seconds I was soaked to the skin. Without an umbrella I was faced with a dilemma because when I arrived at the bus shelter it was packed full or people. No room inside for me.
Get upset or practice radical acceptance?
I sized up the situation and knew that I had absolutely NO control over the situation. I could either stand there and be miserable and frustrated or I could choose to practice radical acceptance which is what I opted for.
Doing this allowed me to accept the reality of the situation and diminished my anguish, frustration, suffering over something I could not change and could not control. Instead, it allowed me to appreciate that, yes, I was going to get wet but I didn’t have to be angry or miserable about it. I decided that I would take a nice, hot shower when I got home and put on my warm, Terry Cloth bathrobe and make a nice, hot cup of tea and show myself some self-love.
Once you decide to practice radical acceptance, it’s important to realize that you might not stay in that state continuously
Your mind will go in and out of a state of radical acceptance and when you notice that you have left the state of radical acceptance, you turn the mind back and resume your practice. This is another example of why leaning to practice mindfulness is so integral to DBT.
Choosing to practice radical acceptance in this case helped me salvage what would otherwise have been a terrible afternoon. I’d have spent a good portion of time feeling sorry for myself and angry at myself because I had neglected to take my umbrella.