15 Radical Acceptance Coping Statements (2024)

This guide presents the key facts about radical acceptance coping statements.

You’ll learn what they are, how and when to use them, plus why they’re so powerful. 

There’s also a list of 15 coping statements for you to use.

This is a topic that often proves very useful for my life coaching clients when they’re going through difficult times. 

I hope it helps you out in whatever situation you’re currently struggling to accept. 

Let’s dive right into it.

Radical Acceptance Meaning

Radical acceptance is the practice of accepting situations that are out of your control, rather than resisting it or letting your emotions run wild.

Its origins are based in Buddhist teachings and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).  

How Do You Explain Radical Acceptance?

Radical acceptance is based on the concept that suffering comes not from pain, but from your attachment to it.

When you resist – by trying to avoid the situation or deny your strong emotions – you remain attached to the pain.  

When you accept the pain, the situation loses its power over you. Before you know it, the suffering begins to ease.   

What you resist persists, what you embrace dissolves.

While grief, guilt, anger, shame and disappointment are normal emotions. At the same time, they are difficult emotions that don’t feel good. So, it’s common to try and escape from these and other painful emotions, rather than accept reality.

That’s why radical acceptance exists. It’s not passive. You’re consciously practicing radical acceptance – and this guide is packed with ideas for how to do that. 

What Radical Acceptance Is NOT

Radical acceptance doesn’t mean you agree with what’s happening to you. That would be denying your feelings.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you forgive any other person responsible for the negative situations you find yourself in. Radical acceptance is an act of kindness to yourself and no-one else.

What Are Examples Of Radical Acceptance?

It’s recommended to practice radical acceptance in situations you’re unable to change or improve. If something feels unfair or too overwhelming to be dealing with, practicing radical acceptance is likely to help.

Let’s say you woke up with a huge purple pimple on your nose on the day you’re supposed to appear on television for the first time. Then, you stepped in a huge dirty puddle on the way to your car. Then, your car wouldn’t start.

These are examples of situations that are out of your control once they’ve occurred. If you were to stay angry or frustrated, that’s likely to make the rest of the day even worse. 

But that’s what’s likely to happen if you resist your feelings or dwell on the unfortunate circumstances.

A better strategy is to radically accept the current situation. This will help you ease any intense emotions. Plus, it clears your mind to logically decide your next steps. 

By the way, if you could relate to this fictional scenario, you might appreciate my guides on the Best Ways To Embrace My Imperfections and Effective Ways How To Let Go Of Expectations.

How Do You Practice Radical Acceptance Through Tough Times?

It’s not easy to practice radical acceptance exercises when you’re going through difficult times. The process requires a wise mind, for sure. 

For these exercises to be effective, it’s important to logically understand that it’s no good resisting extreme emotions when bad things happen. This achieves nothing, except making your daily life harder. 

It’s also recommended to start practicing radical acceptance every day, even with the small things that go wrong. This will make it easier to acknowledge and accept more difficult situations in the future. 

Radical Acceptance Coping Statements
Photo By Ben White On Unsplash

How Do You Embrace Radical Acceptance?

A person can have a hard time accepting painful experiences because they often equate it to agreeing with what happened. Some find that it would be too tough to welcome the difficult emotions that come with accepting a traumatic event. Others simply have no control over their emotional reactions when difficult situations occur, because their distress tolerance is too low. 

Once again, an understanding of how radical acceptance helps you – and experience practicing it – can really help to see things differently.  

Radical Acceptance Mantras

Mantras – or coping statements – are a great way to shift yourself into a mindset of radical acceptance.

Here are 15 coping statements to try using to help you accept situations and reduce your suffering.

  1. “I can’t change what has already happened.”
  2. “I’ve dealt with problems before and I can deal with this.”
  3. “I won’t stress over the things that I can’t change.”
  4. “I can’t change the situation, but I can control how I respond to it.” 
  5. “It’s okay to feel anxious or upset. I can feel pain and still deal with this effectively.”
  6. “I can accept things the way they are”
  7. “I can only control the present moment”
  8. “I won’t waste my time or energy fighting the past.” 
  9. “I might not like it, but this is what has happened.”
  10. “I can feel anxious and still deal with the situation”
  11. “I accept myself for how I’m feeling.”
  12. “It’s OK to feel this way.”
  13. “Life has ups and downs. Downs are inevitable.”
  14. “If I fight my negative feelings, I fuel them.” 
  15. “I don’t understand why this is happening, but I can accept it.”

Radical Acceptance Exercises

Radical acceptance is internal. It’s entirely based on your thoughts and feelings. That’s why coping statements and affirmations are recommended so often.

However, there are other exercises you can do to help you embrace radical acceptance.

  • Deep breathing to calm the body. Focus on your breath to remain the present moment. 
  • Practice mindfulness by examing your thoughts and separating yourself from them. 
  • Acknowledge and accept your emotions. Say out loud how you’re feeling and why. For example: ”I am feeling anxiety/anger because my friend tried to shame me.”
  • Separate your feelings from reality. What has actually happened and what are you afraid might happen?  
  • Count backwards from 10. This process helps you to calm down and get back into reality. 
  • Engage in journaling to better understand your emotions. 

If you are struggling to come to terms with reality or to accept your negative emotions, consider getting professional help from a therapist or a life coach. These professionals are well trained to help you improve your distress tolerance and embrace radical acceptance of your situation.

For more exercises to help you remain in the present moment, see this list of ways to develop absolute focus.  

When Is Radical Acceptance NOT Appropriate 

Radical acceptance is not always the best way forward. There are situations where it’s better to try and change the situation, rather than accept things how they are.

These include:

  • if you’re being bullied, harassed or abused;
  • if someone is disrespecting you;
  • if you’re in physical danger.

Essentially, if it’s possible to make a positive change to your situation, you should. Don’t use radical acceptance as a crutch, because you’re too scared or lazy to make a better life for yourself.

Related Content: Expert Insights – How To Let Go Of Shame

Any Questions About These Radical Acceptance Coping Statements?

Thanks for reading my guide. I hope it made sense and can help improve your ability to deal with whatever painful events present themselves in life. 

One final thought on non-attachment. When you resist or avoid negative emotion, you also prime yourself to avoid positive emotion too. I’m sure you’ve met someone who has a hard time accepting a positive feeling in awesome situations, in case it doesn’t turn out as great as they hoped. 

If you want to experience true joy and passion, you need to embrace the ups and downs of life. When you fail to do so, you can create more problems in the long run, such as anxiety, depression or coping mechanisms such as addictions. 

Anyway, if you have a point to make or a question to ask about accepting things the way they are, take a moment to make a post in the comments section. 

It would be great to continue the discussion below.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.