Book Review of a Sort: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

“For many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much–just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work–to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
from Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork–all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.

“Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations. Step by step, she leads us to trust our innate goodness, showing how we can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.”

 

A brilliant, thought-provoking book about the concept of radical acceptance. I read this as part of my on-going commitment to master the various skills of Dialectical Behavior Therapy which has been so very effective in helping me manage my symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. Between these skills and the Positive Psychology taught to me by my present psychologist, I am actually symptom-free.

Radical Acceptance is a skill taught as part of the Distress Tolerance module of DBT. There are four modules: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance.

Radical Acceptance and Mindfulness are similar as both require one to accept the present moment for what it is, without judgment or criticism. Mindfulness is more of a meditative skill while Radical Acceptance is to say “It is what it is” and to go from there.

I would have given this book five stars except the author’s prejudice against Christianity is fairly blatant and she has a serious misunderstanding of some of Christian theology. On the other hand, she is a practising Buddhist and Radical Acceptance does have its roots in that philosophy.

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