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When are Reality Acceptance Skills needed?


When painful events happen in your life and you cannot change them, solve them, or make them go away.


Reality Acceptance Skills Set


  1. Radical Acceptance
  2. Turning the Mind
  3. Willingness

Radical Acceptance


Radical Acceptance is accepting that…


  1. Reality is what it is
  2. Everything has a cause
  3. Life can be worth living even when there is pain


Remember …


  • Pain + Non-Acceptance = Suffering
  • It is easy to accept things you like
  • It is hard to accept things you hate, disapprove of , or that cause you a lot of pain.
  • The higher the pain, the harder the acceptance
  • If you want things to change, accept them first, then change them
  • Reality is always changing and if you want to influence how it changes, you must first accept it.


Turning the Mind


What is Turning the Mind?


It is like walking down a road and coming to a fork where one road is accepting and one road is rejecting and choosing to turn toward the accepting road over and over again.


Steps to Turning the Mind


  • Notice …
    • anger, bitterness, annoyance, falling into the sea of “Why me?”
    • when you are trying to…
      • escape reality
      • block things out
      • hide how you feel
  1. Make an inner commitment to turn your mind toward acceptance
  2. Practice turning your mind toward acceptance over and over again.




Willingness is …


  • Allowing the world to be as it is
  • Agreeing to participate in the world as it is
  • Actively participating in reality
  • What you need to overcome a threat


Willfulness is …

  • Saying NO, NO, NO
  • Denying
  • Pushing Away
  • Avoiding



Steps to Turning Willfulness to Willingness



  • Ask yourself,
    • “What is the threat?”
    • “What is the catastrophe?”
  1. Notice and observe willfulness
  2. Radically accept the willfulness
  3. Turn your mind towards willingness, acceptance, and participating in reality just as it is.
  4. When it becomes difficult to Turn The Mind, adopt a willing posture (open arms & palms, half smile)




Getting started with Reality Acceptance Skills


  • Find small things to Practice Accepting first
  • Write yourself a note that says Turn the Mind, hang it somewhere, & practice every time you look at it
  • Notice
    and observe Willfulness
  • Practice Willingness by participating in reality
  • Adopt a Willing Posture (open hands, arms, half-smile)
  • Remember Acceptance is Difficult and requires much time & practice to be effective.


Reference Marsha Linehan, From Suffering to Freedom: Practicing Reality Acceptance (# 4 in 4 DVD Set) © 2005 Guilford Press



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