Tag Archives: radical acceptance

clicks of clarity


About 2 weeks ago, while on holiday, I had what I call, a click of clarity, I love them… those moments, when you can just see things clearly for what they really are. Sometimes they are totally unexpected and not even related to the current activity, but they just appear and you’d be stupid to ignore. This one was regarding my face, which as some of you will know has been a long term, ongoing struggle for me.

I was lying down on the sofa, and I just thought… my face is never going to change the way it looks- I have no intention of having more plastic surgery or cosmetic enhancers… my face will always look like this whether I like it or not- so actually, if the face isn’t going to change, your attitude better. CLICK. Just like that. After decades of therapy, I had that one thought and its changed me.

My face ain’t changing. So I have to. And I will.

When I don’t blog, I use a private journal. The journal is for all the stuff that is definitely not suitable for public consumption. But today, I will type out a letter I wrote to  my face on 1st August. This is uncomfortable for me, but I know I have to state the intention publicly- and for me blogging is an easier way than telling people (not sure I could do that yet). So here it is… unedited… just as it is, just as I am…

1st August 2017.

Dear Face,

I am sorry. So terribly sorry. For all I’ve put you through. Others have hurt you too, ut I know what I’ve done has been so much more damaging and deep. I have been cruel, neglectful, invalidating and abusive. So awful. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for functioning despite everything you have gone through. Thank you for being so patient with me. I place a marker in the sand- from this moment on my relationship with you changes. I give you my word and my intention. I can’t promise I won’t ever fall or slip in to old patterns, but I can promise as soon as I notice I wills stop I will not indulge the abuse. I will acknowledge it and let it pass- but I will also treat myself with compassion in these failings.

Face, I will need to develop my ability to listen to you and you will need to develop your voice. I know all the abuse has silenced you and you will need to grow in trust of me again. Again, I can’t promise I will never get it wrong but I can promise my desire and intention is to validate you and yours experiences. Keep talking and I will keep listening.

I accept you totally as you are. Your eyes and nose aren’t going to change – I’m not putting you or me through surgery so this is the way it is. I can’t change the way I look and I’m sorry that I’ve been so resistant to you. I’m sorry for the years I have been desperate to look different. I’m sorry for the way I’ve blamed you for everything. I’ve laid it all at your door. The whole lot:

  • rejection by mum
  • being single
  • the reason for my vulnerability to predators

There may be a grain of truth in all of these- but the truth is also that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Face, you are the way you are. You didn’t ask for it- and you are not responsible for other people’s reactions to it… mum, dad, club, peers strangers and most importantly myself. I have made the choices I have- not your fault. I’m not judging myself for those responses- I have done what I’ve done usually because I’ve tried to survive. I have survived. Nut now to live. Cant change what I’ve done but I can change what I do. Wow,such an important moment. I relish this moment: my face isn’t changing so I have to- actually ‘have to’ isn’t the full picture, I choose to… I want to… I really want to…

Facce- you are amazing. You see, smell, speak, breathe, communicate- wow, you are incredible, just incredible.

I don’t want tot insult you by not being authentic, so I’m not yet able to say you are beautiful etc, but with integrity I can say, I accept you the way you are. And I really hope to grow in my love and appreciation of you. Not sure what that really looks like but its got to be better/ different to how things have been until now. I want to look at you with:

  • delight not repulsion
  • compassion not criticism
  • kindness not cruelty
  • to cherish you not to abuse you

Face- may you be safe: safe from the judgement of others and safe from the judgement of myself

may you be happy: delight in your uniqueness, celebrate your quirkiness and glory in your radiance

may you be healthy- may your eyes continue to see, your ears continue to hear, your nose continue to breathe and your out and teeth be healthy and whole.

Your face is welcoming- your smile is radiant and your laugh is infectious. Your lips are beautiful.

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”    Harry Winston.

may your face be at peace: with itself, with me and the rest of the world.

A new adventure together- not sure where its going and what it looks  like- but things will never be the same- they can’t, because my heart has changed.

“I love you just the way you are”

Love Hepzibah.

Thanks for listening.





I am restless. I am over tired. I can’t focus and all this leads to frustration.

So many things to do. Nice things. Necessary things. Creative things. Important things. And I can’t seem to do any of them.

I have school work to do. Sewing projects to start. Knitting projects to complete. De-cluttering. Tidying up. Marmalade to make before the oranges go off. Christmas presents from last year that need finishing and giving. Putting away the washing (still hanging up from 2 weeks ago). Posts to write. Books to read. Bills to pay. And I can’t seem to do any of them.

The restless-ness is one of my ‘worse’ feelings. I can’t bear being unproductive. If I don’t achieve something- I’ve failed. I am happy for that achievement to be small e.g. putting away the washing… but it has to be there. And it isn’t there.

It’s Saturday morning in the UK. I’ve been awake since early. I’ve talked to myself and told myself to chill. Take a day out. Rest. Penelope wants me to just do things for pleasure- try and raise my mood. But achieving/producing is my pleasure. I love turning old curtains in to new aprons. I love forming a cake from egg and flour. I love seeing a black and white page transform in to a blaze of colour. So what do I do about that… when my pleasure is derived from the very thing I can’t seem to do at the moment?

I suppose I have some options.

  1. explore finding another source of pleasure. (definitely worth doing any way)
  2. Get a grip and get off my arse and do something or
  3. Follow the DBT way. The DBT way says ‘radical acceptance’. I stop fighting the restless feeling, and accept it. I accept the mess. The unfinished. The plans that aren’t happening. I accept things as they are today. In this moment. I may not like being like this. But today, I am like this. Accepting it, disempowers it. Accepting it, causes rest.


So today, instead of looking at all the things to do and getting frustrated that they aren’t getting done. I will accept, I have unfinished things in my life. When I have more energy, they will get done. When I’m on form, I can achieve a lot. But at the moment, I can’t.

So today.I am restless. I am over tired. Can’t focus… and that is just the way it is.


Thanks for listening . Unknown.png

Radical acceptance


Radical acceptance or accepting reality was one of the first DBT skills that Penelope introduced to me. It is also the one that hasn’t seemed to come very easily, while it remains the one I think about most frequently. However I was greatly helped in this by reading a post from http://www.beautyfrompain.wordpress.com. In this post the author presents the concept of radical acceptance in the form of a formula: Pain x Resistance = Suffering. The premise is that all humans experience pain in life in whatever form. Pain is non-negotiable however our response to this pain can be controlled and managed in different ways. Resisting the pain, fighting it, arguing with it only serves to at best prolong it, at worst cause even more damage than the original pain.

I have been musing this formula for a while. Like many things, I understood the theory and the principle but wasn’t entirely sure how to apply it… What does it look like. In the past few weeks I have had glimpses of it. I have a new sat nav- brilliant inventions, however for some reason I find it very difficult to follow the instructions. Often I will turn too early or miss the turning… Many times I end up in wore pickles than if I tried to follow road signs. However, I have been trying to take deep breaths, extend compassion to myself and ‘radically accept’ my mistakes. The ‘pain’ of a wrong turning is made worse with ranting, accusations, swearing and hitting of steering wheel. Acceptance makes for a far more pleasant journey.

So I’ve been making improvements. However, this week I think I had a triumph! I have a nasty auto-immune disease that attacks my eye. On Monday I awoke to experience intense pain and poor eyesight- it had returned and with vengeance. My instinctive reaction was to spiral downwards- to fall into self-pity and frustration. Despair was also lurking at the door… I’ve only just started mentally feeling better… I’ve only just gone back to work… This is so typical of me etc… But this time I used radical acceptance. I don’t like this eye disease it is painful, inconvenient and means I have to put large amounts of cataract inducing steroids into my eyes. I don’t approve of it, but I do accept this is the way things are at the moment.

Let me tell you, it has made for an easier ride this week. My situation hasn’t changed but I have. That is very encouraging to me. I can try and listen to what my body is trying to tell me. I can get in touch with my emotional pain but I don’t have to let it drown me. I like this radical acceptance stuff!

Thanks for listening.

This is hard…



Sometimes I have moments when I know it is so much easier to give up than keep going.

‘Recovery’ is hard.

Nothing is more challenging than getting out of bed and making an effort when you feel rough.

It is so much easier to practise the DBT skills when you don’t feel so awful

… so much easier to stay in bed.

Today is hard, but I am trying to accept that just because today is hard, it does not mean that every other day will be so hard.