Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach

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Don’t worry: it’s not another book on spirituality, even though it might sound like it. Instead, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach is a primer on being a human being with feelings.

Read it to find out an exciting (but not new) way of accepting the ups and downs of life.

The Summary

  • Radical acceptance is the practice of accepting what is–even the bad stuff. Every aspect of your current experience is healthy, Brach writes. Radical acceptance is also the practice of unconditionally accepting yourself. 
  • Most of us have an internal story about our own acceptability and enoughness. We are not good enough, perfect enough, etc. At heart, we believe that something is fundamentally wrong with us–something that we need to fix.
  • Only when we first accept ourselves, can we change what we prefer to change.
  • To combat this, accept every emotional experience that comes. Doing so–saying “yes” to our experiences–doesn’t cause us to become apathetic. Instead, self-acceptance allows us to grow at a relaxed but consistent pace.
  • Human nature finds apathy and stagnation uncomfortable, disagreeble–almost impossible. We consistently desire to grow and improve, especially when we feel good about ourselves. 
  • One way to learn radical acceptance is to practice pauses. Pause, notice, sit with and accept whatever you are experiencing in the moment. Do this when emotionally flooded, and also make a habit of pausing throughout your day.
  • Offer unconditional friendliness to your pain, suffering, insecurities and all other feelings. Invite the feelings to tea, so to speak. 
  • Name these insecure and painful thoughts as a way of noticing them. 
  • Instead of resisting everything, agree with everything. Silently whisper, “yes” to it all. It will feel mechanical and insincere at first, but in time, it will feel more natural. 
  • Don’t blame yourself and criticize yourself for your pain, illogic, insecurities and other negativity. Simply notice and accept.

About the Author

Tara Brach is a psychologist, author, and teacher of mindfulness and Buddhist meditation. She is the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. and a guiding teacher at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Tara is known for her work in the field of mindfulness and emotional healing, and has written several books, including the popular Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.


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