Happy New Year! Another year, another chance for me to remind all of my readers that you don’t need to change. Last year, I worked to dissuade you from making resolutions that only serve as self-flagellation. As a reminder: you are enough and don’t need to list sins of self-doubt and shame when the calendar and gym salespeople demand you to do so. Now, we are going to raise the bar. This year, the goal is to work on radical self acceptance. You can use the same seasonal self-reflection to embrace, not replace, who you are!
Radical acceptance is an element of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The term was popularized by Marsha Linehan to help people stop fighting themselves when they ran out of “the other hand” that perpetuates indecision. It is used most in addictions treatment to explain how life changing it can be to “accept the things we cannot change.” (Pun intended; I have often joked about DBT’s real translation should be “double talk therapy.”) The key to radical SELF acceptance is control, like the kind of control it takes to stay in your own lane.
Life Is a Highway
I’m competitive. Thanks to my Driver’s Ed teacher, who also delighted in telling us he was the tester and we were the testes, I learned to merge on a highway. His strategy when accelerating to thrilling and scary speeds? Either you will beat them or they will beat you. Radical self acceptance forces you to make sure you know yourself well enough to not let YOU beat you.
- “There are going to be cars driving at you.” More wisdom bestowed on my 16 year old mind. Roll your eyes with me folks. Then, regret it. There was no way to prepare for the fear and hope that several inches of yellow paint were enough to prevent death. But, you get used to it and learn to read the drunks and crazies. The same exists for new people coming at you. You need to learn where to put up healthy boundaries, your own “do not cross” signs when you are traveling on the same highway. I don’t care if they are your best friend/brother turned stranger/sibling. Protect yourself by being more worried about YOU than them.
- Lane changer or slow creeper? I’m a lane changer. I’m the annoying woman in traffic who knows Murphy’s Law and doesn’t seem to care. I know I’m the woman in traffic you mock, the one who changes lanes every 12 seconds based on the delusion that I’m getting further than I was before. My husband isn’t. He will wait in his own lane monitoring the blue mini van to make sure we are all moving at relatively the same pace. He not only knows how to pick a wife, he knows that we will all get to our destination (roughly) at the same time. Therein lies the problem and solution. (See? DBT!) Faceplant, Instashame, and Snapshark lure your eyes off the road, off YOUR path. Maneuver your way through life’s traffic, YOUR way.
Spark Note Summary
I get it. The first of the year is helpful in embracing change. I would love to change my double-digit jean size and single-digit bedtime. I’m excited for you to decide that change starts now. My New Year’s hope is that your new year starts with radically accepting the woman staring in the rear view with a smirk and a plan to use the self-love expressway for all 2020 travel plans.