Aug 4 • 5M

146. Why 95% Acceptance Is Not Enough

You can't "mostly" surrender

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Today I have a little bit of bad news for you.

Accepting, surrendering, and tolerating are not things you can “almost” do. They are binary functions. Either on, or off. You either fully surrender, accept, and tolerate, or you are still hanging on to things that you think are saving you, but never really do.

Someone in the comments section on YouTube today noted that her therapist is fond of saying that she can turn her “acceptance knob” up to 9, but she never allows it to go all the way to 10, which she needs to do. I love this analogy.

I completely understand that you will likely start by turning the acceptance and surrender knob to level 2 or 3. That’s fine. Then you might go to level 5 or 6. When you’re feeling REALLY brave, you’ll go to level 9. But 9 isn’t 10. If we take the binary view, 9 still means OFF. You have to get to level 10 because only 10 is ON in this situation.

Why am I being so strict about this?

Because when you are still holding on and not fully letting go, you are still clinging to the mistaken idea that holding on is needed in order to be safe. If you continue to insist that you have to be safe from your own body and mind, then you will find yourself getting frustrated when “You’re doing the things but nothing is changing.” I know it sounds really cold when I tell you that 95% acceptance is not good enough, but I say that because that last 5% is going to make you think that you are incapable or more “broken” than people that get better. I am being harsh here because it is always heartbreaking to see people wind up blaming themselves and judging themselves so negatively for no reason.


If you are always wondering HOW to accept, tolerate, or surrender, check out the seminar I’m doing with Joanna Hardis on distress tolerance!


What does this look like in practice? We most often see it when people state that they have made progress in floating through or accepting certain situations, but can’t seem to do that in others. They will describe the “special” fears and challenges that are just too big for them to fully surrender to. They can’t seem to fully allow certain experiences, so they start to doubt themselves and ask for special tips and tricks to get them through. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you have situations, fears, and challenges that you just can’t bring yourself to “accept”?

This also kinda speaks to the “acceptable bubble” concept I talk about so often. That thing where you recover to the point where you’re not crippled, but your life is still somewhat small and full of restrictions because you can’t do the “big things”. If you find yourself stuck in an acceptable bubble, you are probably refusing to turn your acceptance knob all the way up to 10.

I did not want this to be true when I was going through recovery, but it was then, and it remains true now. Only FULL surrender, acceptance, tolerance, etc. get this job done all the way. That means allowing the surrender switch to flip to the ON position where there is nothing to hang on to or shield yourself with. It means cranking that knob all the way to level 10 even when you are sure that you should NEVER do that.

Embrace the binary nature of acceptance, surrender, and tolerance. It’s a scary concept, but it also holds the key to real lasting freedom. It removes the bonds of self doubt and negative self judgment that you may be struggling with. Fully letting go is the way out, even when we don’t want it to be.

That pesky leap of faith. It keeps popping up on us, doesn’t it?


Have you listened to this week’s episode of The Anxious Truth podcast? Check it out out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or my website and YouTube channel.