Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker

Radical Acceptance & Psychological Flexibility

November 30, 2023 MaryAnn Walker Episode 71
Inner Work With MaryAnn Walker
Radical Acceptance & Psychological Flexibility
Show Notes Transcript

This week we are exploring the concept of radical acceptance and psychological flexibility. Radical acceptance is the ability to radically accept what is which increases ones level of psychological flexibly.

For example, once we are able to radically accept what the weather is going to look like for the day, we can adapt to the new information and dress accordingly.

Radical acceptance helps us navigate life with more purpose, direction, and intention improving not only the quality of our life, but potentially the quality of our relationships as well.

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Built-in Microphone-1:

Well, hello and welcome back. So, today we get to explore an idea that I just love geeking out over. And we're going to be exploring the idea of radical acceptance and the role that it plays in psychological flexibility. Now, ironically, as you are listening, you're probably going to notice that I am quite congested today. I am a little bit under the weather. And I realized, you know, even though I had today's episode all fully loaded and scheduled out and ready to go, When I went to listen back to it, I noticed that my ports must have been dirty or something on my computer because it kept switching between microphones, and that kind of messed with the sound. It was kind of louder at some points and softer at some points, and I thought, alright, I'm going to have to radically accept that my listeners are either going to have to listen to a clear voice, but like a varied volume that always kind of messes with my head. Or they'll have to listen to me a little bit congested and I just kind of decided that, well, I will show up congested and I will just radically accept that that's what it is that my listeners are going to get to listen to today. So here you go, real life, here is Marianne, congested, and she's radically accepting that. So first, what is radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is exactly that. It is accepting what currently is. So that you can be more productive about what it is that you want to create. It's only when you know where you are currently at that you can come up with a clear plan moving forward. Now oftentimes, when I'm working with someone in a coaching session, it's because there's something in their life that they are resisting. And this might be their relationship status, it might be a certain emotion that they're experiencing, or a certain situation. They just have this belief that, no, it should not be this way. It should be different. And that's an indicator that, okay, they're having a hard time accepting what is, but it's not until we accept what is that we can come up with that clear plan moving forward. Now, I know that a lot of us have GPS these days, but imagine that we're in the days of maps, you know, way back 20 years ago or so, or maybe that was even MapQuest, right? Where you'd print off the maps. You guys old enough to remember MapQuest, but if I needed a map to get to where it is I wanted to go, I would have to be very clear about where I currently was in order for that map to work. So for example, if I'm new in town and I want to find the closest Walmart, I would need a map for that town that would show me where I am. and where the Walmart is. If I had a map to get to Walmart, but it was a map for another town, that would be very unhelpful for me. I would not be able to get to where it is that I wanted to go. And the same is true for us. We have to be really clear and honest about where we're currently at in order to come up with a plan moving forward. So I have three examples I wanted to offer up to you to kind of help to illustrate this idea of radical acceptance. And the first example I have for you is radically accepting the weather. This is something that we're generally pretty good at. As a general population, we're pretty good at radically accepting the weather. There are some days when we're pretty mad and we want to think, no, the weather should be different than what it is, right? If we have an outdoor event planned and it's raining, we might be a little upset, but generally we're pretty good at radically accepting. That the weather's going to do what the weather's going to do. So, for example, right now I think that the high outside is about 30 degrees. I can radically accept that it's about 30 degrees outside, and I can use that as information to guide my actions. I can use that as information to decide, okay, how do I want to dress today? What kind of shoes do I need to wear? How many layers do I want to put on? And I can kind of just decide how I want to show up for the day, knowing that, okay, it is It's 30 some odd degrees outside and this is what I want to do. So radically accepting that just gives us information so that we know how best to show up. If I'm thinking, okay, well I get it that it says it's like, you know, 20 some odd, 30 some odd degrees outside, but I really want it to be summer. So I'm going to go outside and I'm going to be wearing my tank top and my shorts and my flip flops. Then I'm going to be pretty uncomfortable when I go outside, right? It doesn't matter how much I want it to be summer. It is not going to change the fact that it's about 30 degrees outside. So just kind of notice if there are some places in your life where you're really experiencing that conflict and resisting what is. And notice what that is creating for you. You know, if I'm going outside wearing those summer clothes, it's going to be negatively impacting my health. And oftentimes when we're struggling to radically accept what is, it does have some negative impact on us personally. ALl right, example number two, the number on the scale. Now, the number on the scale is completely neutral. The number on the scale doesn't mean anything until we have a thought about it. So, for example, if I'm looking at that number on the scale, and I'm thinking that that number should be something different, then I can use that all as information. right? But I need to radically accept what is in order to come up with a clear plan moving forward. So for example, I have two adult daughters right now that have this big idea of how to make a little bit more money. They want to go and donate plasma. So they are both watching the number on the scale and eating accordingly so they can gain enough weight that they can go and donate plasma. Now if they were not believing the number on the scale or thinking, Oh, well, somehow then I should be the exception to the rule about how much you need to weigh in order to donate plasma. They might show up at the plasma center. Of course, the plasma center is going to weigh them and make sure that they can do so helpfully. But if they showed up and they said, No, no, no, I'm the exception to the rule. Fine, or, oh no, I really weigh enough to donate plasma. That's going to cause some negative health implications, right? They might be more likely to pass out, they might have a harder time donating and they won't be able to achieve their goal of donating X amount of times a month so they can make the money that they want for Christmas So just notice for you what happens too, and you look at the number on the scale. If I look at the number on the scale and I'm thinking, boy, I just really wish that number were less. I need to radically accept what is in order to come up with a plan to decrease that number on the scale to something that is more supportive for me. But I need to radically accept what is in order to become more clear about that plan to find something that's more supportive. All right, example number three, a number in your bank account. Again, the number in your bank account is completely. neutral. It just is. But when we can radically accept what the number is, then we could choose what we want to do with that information. Now I want to make it clear that as we're talking about all of these things, as we're talking about the weather or your weight or the number in your bank account, you don't have to like The number, oftentimes people think as we're talking about radical acceptance, it means, yes, I love this so much. No, I'm not saying that you have to like it. I'm just saying you have to accept what is. So if I'm looking at that number in my bank account and I'm thinking, oh no, no, there's no way that that's how much is in my bank account. I can continue to spend in the way that I'm spending. The number in my bank account is going to be going down lower and lower, but. If I can radically accept what that number is and radically accept my spending habits, then I have the information that I need to make a plan moving forward. I can look at it objectively and say, okay, I can see that I'm actually spending this much dining out each month. And I think I can decrease that number to this much. And that would help to increase the number of my bank account. And so being really objective at looking at things very clearly and radically accepting what is. It's all of what is, not only the number in the bank account, but radically accepting how we got to that number in the bank account, that is where you're going to get the information to figure out how it is that you want to move forward and create a result that is more supportive for you.

Built-in Microphone-2:

now let's talk a little bit about psychological flexibility and the role that it plays in radical acceptance. Now, I recently attended a mental health summit that was phenomenal. And one of the speakers there talked about psychological flexibility. So I'm going to just share the love and pass this example on to you because I thought it was great. But he said, okay, let's imagine for a moment that I'm inviting you into a room and I say, I'll go ahead and sit on the chair in the corner and I'll be right back. So I go and I sit down on the chair and when I sit down, whoa, I stumble backwards. And I recognize in that moment that this chair only has three legs. I, this can't be used as a chair, this isn't going to support me. So now I've discarded the chair, I think well this is done, I go to leave the room, I touch the doorknob, and when I touch the doorknob, I recognize that it's hot. Now as we all learned in grade school, a hot doorknob can be an indicator that there is a fire on the other side. So now my brain is suddenly activated, it's thinking, I've got to get out of here, I can't go through the door, how am I going to get out of this room? And I can see that there's a big window there, but how would I break the window? Now, suddenly, this three legged chair is now a valuable tool. I had previously thought that this chair was completely useless, but now I can see how valuable it really is, and I can use that three legged chair to break the window to get myself to safety. Now, this is what psychological flexibility is. It is the ability to view something in more than one way and to see all of the options that are available to us. Black and white thinking, it not only makes it harder for us to radically accept what is, but it really limits our psychological flexibility. It limits our creativity when it comes to problem solving and finding a way out of things. We're not able to see things in more than one way. And the cool thing is, as we increase our level of radical acceptance, it also increases our psychological flexibility. So we're now able to come into the present moment, see exactly what is, and now we can see all of the things that maybe we thought were just stumbling blocks, that were completely useless in our way, and we're now able to see them as valuable tools, much like that three legged chair.

Built-in Microphone-9:

Alright, so this week I want you to really look at your life objectively and radically accept what is. Remember, you don't have to like it, you don't have to like the weather, or the number on the scale, or your bank account, but radically accept what is so you can come up with that more clear plan to get you to where it is that you'd like to go.

Built-in Microphone-8:

And as always, if you would like some help and support identifying where you're at, where you'd like to be, and how to get from here to there, come and work with me. Gift yourself a life you truly love? for Christmas. So come and work with me. I would love to work with you. You can message me on social media or email me. I'll put all my contact information in the show notes. But yeah, I would love to support you in the best way that I can. All right. I hope you have a great week and let's talk soon. Bye now.