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Posted under: Opinion

Why Radical Acceptance Also Means Letting Go Of Who You Once Were

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Learning how to move on, not only from the people and places that we’ve outgrown, but also from old versions of ourselves is a practice of radical acceptance. If we become married to an outdated model of who we are at any moment, then we miss out on the joy of self-exploration and the growth of infinite self-discovery. You are a fluidly dynamic being who is meant to evolve and change. An inability to let go of your past, relationships and places that you’ve outgrown is an indication that you are tethered and held down by a version of you that no longer exists.

Letting go of old versions of myself that I’ve found comfort in, yet outgrown, taught me radical acceptance. I used to revel in the idea of being a version of me that had it all figured out. The perception of myself as someone who was crystal clear on who he was and what he wanted at every step of my life provided me with a false sense of comfort. It provided me with a false sense of security. Letting go of this old narrative has allowed me to re-evaluate some of my long-term goals and know that it is OK to do so. It has provided space for me to embrace possibilities that the false identity of having it all figured out may have previously limited me from. In this version of myself, I am creating room for the uncertainty. I am making space for the “I’m not sure what exactly may be next” and the “I don’t know right now, but I’ll eventually figure it out.”

Radically accepting the changes that occur inside of you allow you to invite and accept all the changes that occur outside of you. You live with the understanding that you can let go of the past because it has partly but not indefinitely shaped you. You’ve made peace with the fact that some relationships aren’t meant to exist forever. And you know that you will encounter moments that require you to move on from spaces that provide you with comfort.

I've learned that letting go starts with asking yourself three very essential questions.

1. Do I lead my life with grace?

The answer should be yes. When we release, we need to release with grace and ease. Moving forward isn’t always easy because it often requires us to cut emotional ties with people, situations, places and even certain parts of ourselves. With grace, you softly surrender to what is.

It’s not about giving up or giving in. It’s about reacting to the changes with grace so that you can grant yourself peace. Let go from the lightest and most tender layers of who you are. Letting go through radical acceptance is brought on by grace. By leading a life of grace, you are forever grounded by a calm that transcends any sort of shift that occurs in your life.

2. Am I making space for gratitude?

If not, it’s time to do so. Re-evaluate what is filling up your heart space. Gratitude is an active and daily practice. When we make space for gratitude, it becomes so habitual that it precedes all understanding. Gracefully let go of what you’ve outgrown by choosing gratitude as your first resort.

I know that this is easier said than done. It starts at the smallest level. Set this in motion by starting your days with gratitude. Make room throughout your day to find the light even through what may seem like unsurmountable darkness.

3. Is growth my primary focus?

It should be. Your ultimate goal in life should be holistic growth, both personally and professionally. Living with a growth mindset allows you to recognize when it’s time for you to shift. The success, healing and greatness that we desire is on the other side of growth. You unlock your next level through gracefully letting go of what you’ve outgrown, by honoring the transitioning moment with gratitude and purposefully pursuing growth. In 2021, the art of letting go means that once and for all you relinquish your incessant need for control and exist at peace with the dynamic nature of your journey, for growth's sake.

The acceptance we need to release that of which no longer belongs to us, can only come from a radical and far-reaching place deep inside of us where our desire to be better and do better trumps all.

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Ajayi Pickering-Haynes is the Founder and main contributor of the Finding Your Voice Blog platform. He has a multifaceted skill set as an accomplished writer, public speaker, youth program manager, and healthcare professional. He is an emerging thought leader, highly respected and admired growth enthusiast, concert junkie, visionary creative, and community builder. Inspired by the daily pursuit to find his authentic voice, his blog explores that pursuit by encouraging others to use their own internal monologue to discover and distinguish their unique clear voice.