• Elizabeth Harvey

Mini-Review: Radical Acceptance


Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D. is a guidebook for shedding shame, self-criticism, and perfectionism and embracing the freedom of accepting any given moment exactly as it is.

Brach, a clinical psychologist, Buddhist lay priest, and teacher of mindfulness meditation leads readers through stories, clinical examples, and mediations with a compassionate and wise voice with an objective of freedom from the “trance of unworthiness” through a form of mindfulness called Radical Acceptance.


Brach illustrates throughout the book how “feelings of unworthiness and alienation from others give rise to various forms of suffering” such as addictions to substances, food, a relationship, or work. Brach lays out a way of being that offers alternatives to these forms of suffering.

From the book: “Radical Acceptance reverses our habit of living at war with experiences that are unfamiliar, frightening or intense. It is the necessary antidote to years of neglecting ourselves, years of judging and treating ourselves harshly, years of rejecting this moment’s experience. Radical Acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as it is. A moment of Radical Acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom.“


For myself and in working with clients I’ve seen this book as a helpful guide to self-compassion. Beginning to practice Radical Acceptance can feel like a huge relief if you’re used to constantly struggling with perfectionism and being hard on yourself. Unlearning these habits takes practice and this book is a gentle and helpful way to begin.