Caterina's Reviews > Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
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it was amazing

Radical acceptance was suggested to me by my therapist, and since I’ve started listening to the audiobook, I’ve gone back to parts of it over and over. It's been enlightening more than any other self-help book I’ve read (which are not many, to be fair).

I'm not particularly spiritual, or good at sitting still and meditating. But, since I've been listening to this book, I've made more efforts throughout the day to hold a caring thought to my body and myself, especially in the moments in which I don't feel great about things. If it hasn't opened the gates of happiness, it definitely has helped in making me realize I spend way too much time running away from negative thoughts, and trying to distract myself with ephemeral things, rather than facing them.

The main message of the book is quite simple, but extremely important: many people in modern society, if not almost everyone, deep down feels a feeling of unworthiness, that we’re not enough to be loved the way we are. We keep attacking ourselves, and criticizing ourselves, treating ourselves with little kindness. We’re trapped in feelings of shame and guilt: we do not deserve to be happy, but all we look for is to be loved, to feel whole and happy.

Here is were radical acceptance comes to play: instead of running away from bad feelings, one has to look them in the eyes, to acknowledge them, to feel them. Rather than running away from the pain, one should hold its hands, and eventually she’ll go away on its own. Meeting sadness or pain as a part of life and existence, the way of the Buddha, rather than something to be run away form. A way in which one can hold on to this is through a body scan: once an unpleasant feeling starts to arise in the body, in the stomach, in the head or chest, that can be used as an anchor to understand what we’re feeling.

Once the suffering has been detected and acknowledged, the stage of compassion can initiate: instead of shoving the pain away, instead of feeling ashamed for suffering, the pain can be soothed by a deep compassion for oneself, a taking care of your own wounds.

We all commit mistakes, we all feel shame and guilt. But the first stage towards finding others’ forgiveness is accepting the pain, and feeling compassion for oneself.

It’s important to not confuse the acceptance of pain with playing victim, being resigned to suffer and giving in. That is not what radical acceptance should be about, according to TB: radical acceptance is a process that frees the mind from the anxieties, confusion and restlessness that negative emotions may arise, and in this way it creates space for the mind to see clearly, to engage in more thoughtful actions.
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Reading Progress

January 12, 2019 – Started Reading
January 12, 2019 – Shelved
January 14, 2019 – Finished Reading

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