Modern psychology raises the possibility of a more civil environment through the principle of radical acceptance. The dialectical behavior therapy combats Thomas Hobbes contention that the state of nature is the war of everyman against everyman made in his book Leviathan, in 1651. Modern societies, with all the push and pull on every individual, cannot survive if it is to be a war between those who have and those who have not. Radical acceptance teaches a new philosophy that is built to allow the individual to cope with a transitional world through self-reflection.
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What is Not Radical Acceptance?
When Hobbes was writing about social structure based on the usurpation of position as a tool toward advancement, he set up a social contract where the rights of the elite-dominated every aspect of life. Those who remained without status had no recourse to find justice for perceived offenses and thus must accept their position as subservient as a part of nature. Such thoughts are not included in the dialectical behavior therapy of radical acceptance. Radical acceptance does not mean acceptance or approval of an offense. Radical acceptance is an acknowledgment of reality.
What Blocks radical Acceptance?
In a society that propounds the belief that advancement of an individual is possible for anyone with the ability to succeed in a world of conflict, it is contrary to every force that assails the individual to accept reality and move on. According to Psychology Today, there are several aspects of human nature that block radical acceptance. All those aspects revolve around the perception of the individual’s importance in the world. Thoughts like: “Don’t let them off the hook,” or “I will never agree,” or even “My anger protects me from harm,” create dams that do not allow an individual t move on from some event that they find offensive. Placing the “self” above the context of the “event” creates a dam of emotions blocking any possibility of moving on.
Radical Acceptance as a Coping Tool
Radical acceptance does not come naturally for most people and is a skill that must be taught and practiced over years of patient and meditative time. Acceptance of life-changing events takes time. Grief is a life-changing event. The loss of a loved one can bend the mind into a pretzel. Thoughts of refusal, of denying the event cannot change death into life. Though such an example is an exaggerated illustration, it serves to demonstrate the basics of radical acceptance. Smaller events that harm the ego and reduce the perception of self-importance can affect individuals who harbor a grudge well into the future impairing their ability to cope with the reality of the event and move on. Raging at a stoplight will not make it change to green any faster, nor will shouting at the neighbor’s barking dog in the middle of the night make it shut up.
The Value of Radical Acceptance
Radical acceptance allows individuals to accept the real world and cope with the small things and the large events that bring rage to the front of the mind. Practicing the concept does not translate to acceptance of Hobbes contention that everyone is at war with everyone; rather, it is a tool that helps individual advance beyond the torrent of complaints the world produces to a place where they operate more effectively without the passion of conflict.