7 Exercises for Radical Acceptance

Pami Parker

Discover how to practice radical acceptance to improve your mental health.​

There is a famous saying that “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” It suggests that pain is an inevitable part of life; suffering, however, arises from not accepting the pain. What makes this quote helpful is that it not only discerns between pain and suffering, two concepts we often use interchangeably, but it also recognizes that we have power in the face of challenges. We have the power to accept.

Radical acceptance is accepting what is not under your control and embracing what is happening now in a non-judgmental way. When you wholeheartedly and radically accept emotional or physical pain, it can reduce suffering.

Marsha Linehan, a leading psychologist who introduced the idea of radical acceptance into Western societies, sums it up: “Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging”. It is a “complete and total openness to the facts of reality as they are, without throwing a tantrum and growing angry.” 

Therapies that include radical acceptance are designed to stop the clients from having reactive behaviors and encourage them to respond to challenging situations skillfully. For example, it has been shown that these therapies can reduce substance use and relapse, anxiety, suicidality, and chronic pain. However, radical acceptance can be learned and practiced outside of therapy. In fact, this strategy can help people accept themselves wholeheartedly, increase well-being , and have positive weight loss benefits.

How to Practice Radical Acceptance

Here, you can learn more about steps you can take to develop radical acceptance skills (tap + for details):

Radical acceptance can be a useful skill for improving personal well-being and interpersonal relationships. Hopefully, the information provided here gives you some ideas for how to practice it in your life.

Created with