Thank you to all of you who responded to my request for topics from last month. The ‘Gift of Acceptance’ was requested the most and for good reason. We could all use a dose of accepting our partners as they are and by the way, ourselves as we are too. So, what does it take to fully accept our partner and ourselves?
What can you really change? You can’t change other people, you can’t change the weather, you can’t change a lot! But on the other hand, there is so much you CAN change-YOU! I’m not suggesting you need to change anything in particular but instead reminding you of where your power lies; within yourself. If, for instance, you are unhappy with how impatient you get when waiting in line at the store, you could start a new behavior such as humming a song in your head while waiting or trying to start a conversation with the people around you. Or, if you are unhappy with your weight, you can educate yourself about proper nutrition and begin to follow a plan that works for you. The point is, you truly do have the power to change many things about you and your life; especially your outlook.
Having said all that, you absolutely cannot change your partner. If you have been married or in a committed relationship for many years, you may have had the experience of trying to change them but instead of getting the change you were seeking, it was meant with resentment instead. “Why can’t you accept me as I am?” This is a universal need-to be accepted as we are. This does not suggest, however, that we don’t want to grow and evolve over time; it’s quite the opposite. Once we are accepted, UNCONDITIONALLY, we feel safe in the relationship and that may allow us to grow from there. But when we feel judged or criticized, we typically don’t want to take any risks and end up stagnant, which is the exact thing you don’t want!
So let’s go back to YOUR OUTLOOK. This is within your control. The lens through which you look at your relationship can have a profound impact on how you feel toward your significant other. If you focus solely on your partner’s shortcomings, you are going to likely feel turned off to them and disconnected. While it may take work and practice, I encourage you to focus on why you initially chose to be with this person. How did you feel at the beginning of the relationship? What were your partner’s strengths back then? It is highly likely they still have them! Just look, and then focus on them! The couples I have spoken to over the years who say they are happy are those who say they accept their partner ‘as is’…flaws and all. I challenge you to increase your dose of acceptance for your partner (and yourself) and watch your relationship soar!