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Radical acceptance is the necessary antidote to years of neglecting ourselves, years of judging and treating ourselves harshly, years of rejecting this moment's experience. Radical acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is.-Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach (2003)
This quote stopped me in my tracks as I sat staring at a page of my guided journaling this morning. This workbook, A Radical Guide for Women with ADHD: Embrace Neurodiversity, Live Boldly and Break Through Barriers, has been insightful and inspiring throughout each chapter. But this one was different. Why? I'm not sure.
But I think it's something about WHAT radical acceptance is the antidote to.
We often don't see years of hustle and grind culture as neglect, but that's why it is so hard to break out of the mental blocks and harmful lessons learned through a hyper-competitive upbringing. Because first, we have to see that mindset for what it is--neglecting our needs. We are neglecting our most authentic selves.
Many of you are parents or caregivers. Let's put this in perspective.
You have a child. You take them to the park to play for the morning. And they have a great time. They are living their best life. Challenging themselves on new obstacles, making friends, solving problems, and generally exerting energy. Now imagine instead of heading home for lunch or nap, you drive home and say,
"I know you're tired from playing all morning, and probably hungry, but I worked REALLY hard to buy you all these toys....so we're going to skip nap and lunch and I'm going to need you to go play some more"
What parent would say that???? Okay, maybe one who spent thousands on a Disney Vacation for their 2-year-old...But even those who try to push their littles to the edge on vacation (which is NOT all the time) often end up advising others to plan time for rest!
So why do we do this to ourselves as adults?
Why were we pushed so hard towards the hustle and grind culture? The "I'll sleep when I'm dead" culture? The "money is everything" mentality? I don't know. I'm going to have to encourage you to resist the self-destructive urge to do this and instead use the same lens of logic, humanity, and empathy we bring to childrearing.
When we are tired, we should rest.
When we are sad, we should cry.
When we are happy, we should celebrate.
When we are nervous, we should find a safe place to comfort ourselves.
We don't have to live in our feelings without FEELING them.
We don't have to push past and push down every moment of discontent and frustration for a "positive vibes only" mentality.
And most importantly, you don't have to do it alone. And in fact, you shouldn't!
We don't expect children to work through every solution on their own. We help them learn to ride a bike. We teach them how to speak with kindness. We teach them how to process hurt feelings. We teach them how to say sorry when they've done something hurtful.
But then we expect ourselves to figure out every obstacle, heartache, and mistake on our own. Why???? Because of a lie.
None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots -Thurgood Marshall
Look around at your idols, your inspirations, the career you dream of. Every one of them has a team of support, advice, and collaboration to accomplish the immense accomplishments that YOU see in their life.
They don't let you see it. But they're not alone. There's a therapist, a business partner, a parent, an assistant, a coach, a team, a family, a support system.
We are not supposed to do it all alone.
But FIRST, we must accept ourselves AS we are where we are. Cause how we can see where we need support, love, and advice if we don't first get to know ourselves?
This is the journey I am on. Learning who I am beneath the years of neglect, anxiety, and expectations. What I need. And who in my life is willing and able to join me on my journey? Because not everyone will be. And that's okay. But I can only accept that because I am learning to accept myself radically. For all of who I am. Because when we accept and love ourselves, we can love and accept the beauty that others have to bring into our lives.
So thank you for being in my life. And for bringing more beauty and love into this space and this world.
You are loved,
Grab the workbook I'm working through below. And let me know what you think!