Radical Acceptance Coping Statements

Radical acceptance is a key in keeping my brain level throughout the roller coaster of life.

Radical acceptance is acknowledging “your present situation… without judging the events or criticizing yourself.” Thinking about your situation without feelings can ease the troubled feelings that may arise from whatever you’re dealing with.

In order to remind myself that I can accept whatever comes my way, I’ve curated a list of “Radical Acceptance Coping Statements” that I remind myself of.

  • The present is the only moment I have control over.
  • The present moment is perfect, even if I don’t like what’s happening.
  • Feelings aren’t facts.
  • Here and now only.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other coping statements a person can use.

  • This is the way it has to be.
  • All the events have led up to now.
  • I can’t change what’s already happened.
  • It’s no use fighting the past.
  • Fighting the past only blinds me to my present.
  • It’s a waste of time to fight what’s already occurred.
  • This moment is exactly as it should be, given what’s happened before it.
  • This moment is the result of over a million other decisions.

Radical Acceptance Coping Statements

  • I/they did that because it was their ‘job’ at the time.
  • I know it is supposed to be this way right now because that’s how it is.
  • I don’t need to fight reality.
  • I acknowledge what is.
  • I/they have done what I could.
  • This is the reality now.
  • No amount of emotional or mental resistance can change what’s already happened.
  • The best way to prepare for the future is to accept the past and present.
  • I can accept (fill in the blank) if or when it happens in the future.
  • I am at peace with him/her/event/situation.
  • I can handle (fill in the blank).
  • I am, in fact, dealing with (fill in the blank), even if I sometimes think I’m not or think I can’t.
  • Worrying about it or having negative feelings about it won’t change it.
  • Everything has a cause.
  • I can let go of this.
  • Whether or not I accept this, it is still the reality. I can choose to accept it.
  • I can choose to deny reality and suffer, or accept reality and find more peace.
  • I can allow the world to be what it is.


Ultimately, shit happens, and there’s not always anything you can do about it … but you can accept it without criticism and judgement with a coping statement.

Do you have a favorite radical acceptance coping statement? Which one of the above strikes you the most? Can you write it on a Post-it note and tuck it away in your wallet for regular viewing? I bet you can.


This post inspired by a section in The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.

Imperfection is perfection

Years ago when Brene Brown first spoke on vulnerability, a friend sent me the video as inspiration. I regularly watch this 20-minute TED talk on shame, vulnerability, honesty, and growth because Brown’s words are poignant, powerful, and encouraging.


“the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy. And to me, the hard part of the one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we’re not worthy of connection,”

My inner critic is skilled at telling me I’m not worthy of the great things I offered or received. She’s also practiced at reminding me that I deserve anything (and everything) negative that comes my way. She’s kind of a bitch, actually.

So, why can’t I shut up the critic inside? Well, first of all she’s been a part of me since I was a child … it’s hard to let go of a life-long frenemy. Second, if my inner critic doesn’t tell me my writing is crap, someone else will have to. That means another human will know I’m not perfect. I can’t have that! Third, if I rid myself of my inner critic, might someone worse invite themselves in? Would I be able to handle someone who talked even more terribly to me?

I’m working on learning to live with my inner critic. I talk to her, tell her to shove off, to shut up, to jump off a cliff, and I derisively laugh at her when she’s wrong. (Yanno, she’s actually wrong quite a bit.) I’m working on asking her “WHO CARES?” when she talks shit to me. If I don’t care, does it really matter if others do? I’m learning to not care.

I’ve learned to notice when she pops into my consciousness, why she’s present, and I can almost count on the actual words that she says to me. I’ve realized that no matter how loudly she announces “You’re not enough,” I can stick my tongue out at her sassier, flip her the bird more fiercely, or kick her in the teeth even harder. When she plays a movie of  my failures and mistakes, I can mute her, smash the speakers, or simply unplug the electricity. I’m learning to work around her.

If my inner critic were a solid-body woman in my life, I would flat out refuse to be her friend. If I spoke to you the way she speaks to me, you wouldn’t want to be my friend either. I’m learning to talk back to her.

these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.

I am imperfect.

We are all imperfect.

I’m going to learn to be okay being imperfect.

Therapy isn’t cheap, but this book is

advanced distress tolerance skills improve the moment chapter 2 from the dialectical behavior therapy skills workbook

Right now, I am without super helpful mental health insurance, so I am doing a lot of self-care and self-help. In three of the four seasons of the year, I utilize a SAD Lamp to help with my circadian rhythms and exposure to light. Every day I work through a few pages in  a self-help book in hopes of learning the as much as I can about myself and my situation.I also use an iPhone app which

Currently I’m using a book that was mailed to me in April during Booksgiving titled The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook (Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance). This DBT book is fantastically rated on Amazon (and on sale right now!) and after I finish my copy, I plan to do a thorough review and give away a copy of one of the most helpful self-care books I’ve utilized.

Mindfulness Moment: Square Breathing

I was once taught to use a “square breath” to calm my body before a test, and I would walk students through it occasionally before their own quizzes or tests.

I find myself using square breathing quite often lately when I’m overwhelmed or can’t quite sort out my too-many-tabs-open brain.

squareSquare breathing is simple;

  1. breath in for four counts
  2. hold your breath for four counts
  3. breath out for four counts
  4. hold your breath for four counts

Repeat that cycle at least three times.

I don’t just use square breathing when I’m experiencing anxiety or stress; I practice it when I’m calm so I know it will work when I’m under pressure. I’ve even used square breathing to help me fall asleep. Your brain is a muscle and you can train it to work more efficiently, just like your biceps!

How to be more mindful

You know what mindfulness is, you know a little bit about how to be mindful, but you are still wondering well, what do I DO?

Start first by using your senses:

  • what are you seeing right now?
  • what are you smelling or tasting right now?
  • what do you hear right now?
  • what does your body feel physically right now?

Connecting even to those four simple questions “right now” is mindfulness.

A few more tips to help you practice being mindful in the best way possible.

  1. Notice thoughts non-judgmentally
  2. Act one-mindfully
  3. Participate effectively

NON-JUDGMENTALLY – when you see thoughts come into your mind, only look at the facts; not the “good” or “bad,” but the “what.” You can separate your feelings from these thoughts with practice, though it does take practice.

ONE-MINDFULLY – instead of claiming that you’re the best multi-tasker there is, stop. Do things one at a time. When you are writing; write. When you are talking to your spouse; talk. When you are eating, just eat. Pay attention to what you’re doing right when you’re doing it. This is mindfulness in a nutshell. When other thoughts come to mind (trying to sleep and you’re thinking about work), observe these thoughts without judgements and then let them go. Remain mindful and one-minded.

EFFECTIVELY participate – focus on doing what works for you. Mindfulness practices are different for each person, so do what works for you. Meet the needs of the situation that you are currently in — no need to think about past situations and how you acted, or how future actions might be changed if you do something different. Do what is necessary to achieve the goals you’ve set. If something isn’t working; STOP DOING IT.

A great way to begin more mindful is to allow someone else to guide you through the process. The use of podcasts (UCLA has a lot of Free Guided Meditations), iPhone apps (like Happify or Headspace), and YouTube can get you started quickly and inexpensively!