Why NOT Me?

I am working on my lesson plan on radical acceptance for DBT. In order to truly be able to tolerate distress and build a life worth living – all in DBT parlance, of course – we sometimes have to radically accept a situation we do not approve of and that causes us pain. [Lin/Linda: Click here for another of Sue’s pages about radical acceptance.]

Why radical acceptance? Things termed ‘radical’ effect fundamental nature and have far-reaching effects. Some changes and distressing occurrences threaten us at the core. In order to deal with them we need to accept them at the deepest levels as well. Thus, radical acceptance.

Think integrating a new identity as someone with low vision into your sense of self. Now THAT is pretty radical.

Radical acceptance not only teaches “it is what it is”, no changing reality. It also teaches “everything has a cause”. When I first read that, I bristled a bit. I do NOT feel I did anything to deserve having this eyesight. Not my fault. Then I decided I would need to research it a bit more (after all, I am supposed to teach this stuff!)

Turns out the idea behind everything has a cause is not about assigning blame. It is, instead, to quiet that chorus of voices saying how things should be and how life is not fair.

Only when we get over feeling the Universe is out to get us can we eliminate some of our distress.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is I was a pretty logical candidate for developing AMD. I am female, white and of a certain age. My father had AMD. My diet runs toward fatty foods and I have high blood pressure. After I took another look at the risk factors I have I had to admit “why me?” was not the proper question. The more appropriate question would be “why not me?” What would make me so special I could have all those risk factors and not develop the condition?

The third tenet in radical acceptance says life is worth living in spite of the pain. (I try to live a full life in spite of my ‘blurries’. I also end up with muscle aches to prove it. Somebody remind me to act my age….later.)

In fact, DBT says pain has some very positive purposes. (Now let’s not get too crazy here.)

Nietzsche really did say “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. I wasn’t there but I take it on good faith. Jane Juza said in The Positive of Experiencing Pain that pain tends to make us appreciate the good in our lives and to seek out meaning and purpose. Frankl said the meaning and purpose in your life may be in how you endure with grace.

So, there you have it, a preview of my lesson on radical acceptance. Hope it made sense. Going to bed a little early now. I think my pain is telling me I played too hard. Information, another benefit of pain. Night!

Next: coming soon!

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