Radically Accepting Brexit

Today the EU referendum results came in, and it was announced that the majority rules for Britain to exit the EU. My family, my friends, and pretty much everyone I know living in London, is absolutely besides themselves. It has been shocking, scary and unsettling to say the least, and I personally do not know a single person who is celebrating the decision.

There are so many reasons as to why I have been passionate about staying in the EU, and why I am absolutely gutted that we are not going to be a part of it for much longer. I am not planning on writing these reasons here because this blog is not one to be contaminated with politics – that is not its point. However, I am using this opportunity (if one can call it that!) to practice the only thing that can be practiced in situations such as these: Radical Acceptance.

Radical Acceptance is the process of accepting a reality that is different from the one you want to be true – in mind, body and spirit – as fully as is possible.

What needs to be accepted, according to the DBT handbook, is that:

  1. Reality is as it is: The verdict has been made: the U.K. are leaving the EU.
  2. There are limitations on the future for everyone: There is absolutely nothing I (nor anyone else) can do at this point to change this fact.
  3. Everything has a cause: A referendum took place and the majority voted in favour of leaving.
  4. Life can be worth living even with painful events in it. 

Radically Acceptance is not the same as liking something. That point is important to remember.

I keep having thoughts along the lines of “what the actual fuck?”, “this is unbelievable”, “am I dreaming?” and a lot of judgments about the country and the people who voted to leave. This is not particularly accepting, I know, but I am still in shock about the whole palaver and it seems to be a very default (and somewhat contagious) reaction amongst the people I associate myself with (and much of London, it seems).

The only thing I can do is recognise when my thoughts take me off into all these judgments and worries, blaming and shaming and criticising those I disagree with, and try and pull myself back to what I am really experiencing. Because the fact is that these thoughts are not getting me anywhere besides feelings embarrassed and bitter towards my country – and that isn’t really an attitude I would like to have, when it comes down to it.

Yes I am sad about Brexit. I am sad and scared (heck, terrified!) and angry for a number of reasons – some personal, some less so; some warranted, some less so. The feelings are there, and they are there for a reason; this is a significant event. But the judgmental thoughts – the lack of acceptance – they just take me away from the raw feelings, and end me up spiralling into a rut of contaminated and messy bitterness I do not like seeing myself in.

The fact is, whether I (or anyone else) likes it or not, the decision has been made and is going to go ahead. No amount of questioning, analysing, berating or venting will change the reality of the situation. No amount of racking my brains nor scrolling through social media posts nor asking the same questions to those around me over and over will provide the answers nor solutions I (or we) are after.

What can be done besides dealing with the consequences of such a situation in a way that is mature, measured and least likely to influence things getting even worse – perhaps even leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy of disaster? Will the Facebook hate or the social media updates really help or hinder us further if they only focus on what has gone wrong, as opposed to what we can do now to make the most of an admittedly horrendous situation?

It is important to note what has gone wrong, so that it can inform future decisions and pathways. But, there comes a point when doing so will no longer be effective; when doing so only leads to more and more bitterness – for all parties involved.

I do not want to be bitter. I will be sad and I will be scared and I will be angry if that is what I need to be, if that is what I am feeling. But I am going to try and stop judging and mocking those who voted to leave, and stop perpetuating the already vast divide. I will not be hateful. There is enough of that in this whole hoo-hah already.

Update: This speech by David Cameron (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/eu-referendum-outcome-pm-statement-24-june-2016) is a great example of Radical Acceptance in action, and is helping me practice it myself. I think his attitude in this is one to admire, all things considered. 


12 thoughts on “Radically Accepting Brexit

  1. I saw the news and I’ve been reading on it though sadly, history in school really has not gone much into the EU and all that it entails. I can’t imagine how it has to be for you right now living where it’s all happening. My understanding is that not much will be happening overnight (though I imagine finally there’s already a huge effect; I know there is here in the US with the market) but I’m sure there are definitely concerns for the possible big changes that could very well occur. Crazy that this went through at all and who knows what the large scale repercussions will be. I agree that radical acceptance is a big one because unfortunately, there’s not much you can do right now. But definitely focus on the things you can control right now and focus on those and hopefully that will help. I will be thinking of you though. (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I voted out. I have BPD myself and I’m finding myself feeling all over the place with the whole thing now. I wish I hadn’t voted. Not so much because I regret the way I voted, but the hate that is surrounding the whole issue is making me feel like I’m being judged and is making me feel quite ill and anxious. What will be will be.
    I hope you can continue to use your skills to get yourself to a place you can live with. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Gemma. It is such a controversial and tricky issue, and one close to my heart for a number of reasons – I’m sorry if my post upset you. One intention of mine with the whole radical acceptance thing is to take a step back and refrain from judging the decisions of those I do not agree with. We live in a democracy and it is only fair people have the right to vote as they please. I know there were many valid reasons that people chose to vote out, it’s just a shame that a lot of people voted to do so for less informed reasons. I am definitely calmer today about the whole thing. I am sorry that you’re struggling with it and really understand why you feel ill and anxious. All the best to you, I mean it.


      • It’s your blog and you are allowed to write what you like, It is a tricky and controversial subject, pros and cons for and against.
        You haven’t upset me, I meant I just feel upset about the whole issue. I’m having that really fun BPD thing where it’s all my fault, even though logically I do know that there is no way all this hate etc. is my fault, still feels that way though. Right now I want to crawl into a corner and die.


      • Oh Gemma. I understand that feeling absolutely, it makes so much sense to me that the events from the last few days have become about something more deep and personal to you. I’m really sorry. I hope that you have some support… That you can use your skills too to get through this rough patch..


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