Learning to say yes to your reality
By now, it’s common knowledge that women of color have always faced a unique set of challenges in society. From gender discrimination and racial microaggressions to depression and other mental health challenges, it can feel like you're fighting an uphill battle every day only to feel like you’re in the same place you were before. A 2022 study reported that Black women experience more psychological stress than any other demographic group in the US with health, family, and relationships at the top of the stress response list. Though the intersectionality between being a woman and being Black is historically marginalized, there is hope for positive change.
Radical acceptance is a powerful tool that improves your well-being and gives you back control of your mental well-being. By learning to say yes to loving who you are right now, you can create more inner peace, strengthen resilience to stress, and heal from trauma. Let's explore what radical acceptance is and how it can help you.
Why Radical Acceptance Is Especially Important For Women Of Color
As women of color, we’re bombarded every day from every direction with messages disparaging everything from our bodies, our skin, our hair, our culture, our language, and everything in between. Because of that, there’s often deep-seated trauma that stems from childhood and continues to hold you back from realizing a more positive and joyful reality. The first step and most important element in sustaining a sense of self-esteem and empowerment is radical acceptance.
What Is Radical Acceptance?
Radical acceptance involves fully accepting and embracing reality as it is, rather than trying to resist or change it immediately. It involves incorporating a distress tolerance skill that acknowledges and embraces difficult emotions, thoughts, and experiences you have had in your past rather than trying to ignore, suppress or fix them. It's not about condoning negative habits or being passive. It’s about recognizing when things are not fully in your control and learning how to respond in a healthy and productive way with clear direction instead passive instruction. Radical acceptance is about more than being satisfied when you look in the mirror. Radical acceptance is about looking at yourself from the inside and being happy with what’s reflected back in your life. What you need to remember is that you are worthy and your existence is valued in this life. Radical acceptance is merely what helps you uncover that truth. Remember you can accept things in your life without agreeing with them. When you say yes to your reality, you are saying "I am no longer allowing this thing to impact my life."
Three Ways To Learn To Accept Your Reality
1. Culturally Competent Therapy
Find a therapist of color who can understand your unique struggles and help map out the best ways to develop radical acceptance. Traumatic events can prevent radical acceptance by holding you back from dealing with what plagues you the most. Trauma therapists can help you find balance in your life. They teach grounding techniques to help their clients handle intense emotional turmoil and mental distress.
2. The Serenity Prayer
There are so many resources for you to build on your self-awareness like shadow journaling to learn more about yourself and daily affirmations or mantras. The serenity prayer breaks down what radically accepting your life looks like. Repeat the following prayer when you are struggling to let go of things outside of your control.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, the courage to change the things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference."
Radical acceptance starts with introspection that helps you uncover each layer of what makes you who you are by learning which faults you need to strengthen and what areas you can grow from. When you seek to have total control over your life and unexpected things happened it can be difficult to accept. Use the serenity prayer to help regain your focus and let go of the uncontrollable.
3. Healthy Connections
When you can connect with someone who has been where you are and gone through similar circumstances, only to come out on the other side with a more in-depth understanding of who they are and can be moving forward. Joining a support group or finding a mentor can solidify your sense of community to support your transformation from the inside out.
When you can embrace every part of yourself and learn to cope with your trauma as a woman of color, it can be one of the most rewarding gifts you can grant to yourself. You no longer have to pretend to be okay. If you're ready to take the first step towards radical acceptance, reach out to KQH Counseling today and find your safe and supportive space as a woman of color.
Tipre, M., & Carson, T. L. (2022). A Qualitative Assessment of Gender- and Race-Related Stress Among Black Women. Women's health reports (New Rochelle, N.Y.), 3(1), 222–227. https://doi.org/10.1089/whr.2021.0041