Welcome to this week’s Relationship Success post.
If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here:
I decided to write this series because I believe in the importance of raising awareness of the aspects of relationships that might help or hinder our ability to communicate and relate in healthy ways with our partners.
Once we are in a space to think about our behaviours, our partners behaviours, and how they impact on one another, we can then start thinking about how to resolve those miscommunications or missed opportunities to make things right.
If you feel you want to discuss this in a session, feel free to book by emailing me or contacting me via this blog’s contact form.
In today’s blog post, I want to talk about acceptance, and to do so, I am going to start with what I believe to be the basis of acceptance in any relationship: acceptance of ourselves.
In last week’s post, I mentioned that we sent “vibes” to the world, and the ones closest to us pick them up in ‘surround sound, high definition’.
What vibe are we sending?
- I accept myself, I respect myself, and therefore I expect you to accept and respect me as well.
- I am not sure about myself, I find it difficult to respect myself, so feel free to step all over me as you please.
OK, point B got a bit dramatic, but some of us might actually be thinking like this – or worse!
The vibe will be sent and we will be treated by others in the way that is communicated to them.
This isn’t a life-long sentence. we can change this!
Therapy is a great place to become self-aware and work through the reasons behind you feeling like the person in point B.
Talking about this and understanding why we behave this way or allow people to treat us a certain way, will help us change things internally – the unconscious is very powerful, but not unbeatable!
In therapy, we talk about stuff that might have been swept under the carpet, ignored, or avoided (in Freudian terms – repressed or suppressed). By talking about it and working through it – feeling, thinking, understanding and letting go – we will also let go of the negative vibe we are sending, and people will start reacting and treating us differently.
Because we will have found our self-respect, our self-acceptance.
Now this is a tricky part to explain and I find it almost magical to see this happen in therapy and then it transfer over to people’s lives.
All I can say is it works!
Setting clear boundaries and meeting our needs is an important learning experience from being in therapy, and I can see the change happen in my clients.
The vibe becomes positive and their relationships in turn also become more positive!
You can also have a look at my book on 20 Self-Care Habits, which will allow you to get to know yourself better!
Now let’s get into the relationship part of acceptance…
In order to accept others, and most importantly our romantic partners, we must first accept ourselves.
This is the reason I started this post with individual’s acceptance of themselves before even attempting to delve into acceptance in a couple!
Now that we’ve worked on accepting ourselves, we can go about thinking and becoming aware of how we respond to our partner’s personality – positives and flaws.
It’s easy to accept the positives, it’s probably the stuff that made us fall for them in the first place!
But what about when we move in together…
when we start seeing their awkward habits or weird things that we had no idea about?
We can take a few routes:
- Tell them to stop being annoying and change to what we want them to be.
- Get angry with them and snap at them without clearly communicating what is bothering us.
- Let the issue fester and then blow up somewhere down the line.
- Accept them for who they are and learn to communicate what we need from them.
As you can probably guess, the only healthy one in those four options is the last one, and it comes with many layers and ways of doing it.
Trying to understand where our partner is coming from is key, as is our partner understanding where we are coming from.
As with understanding ourselves as individuals, understanding why our partner is the way he/she is, and behaves the way they do, will help us work through our feelings and thoughts about them and about each situation we find ourselves in with them.
It will allow for compassion and empathy to arise, rather than anger and frustration.
When both parties know the why’s and how’s of their behaviours, then it is easier to communicate these to their partners.
Explanations lead to more understanding, and more understanding leads to a safer environment to be vulnerable and open up about our worries, thoughts and feelings.
I know I feel closer to my partner when we have in-depth conversations about why we do what we do and how we came about particular ways of being.
Deep and meaningful conversations are important. They deepen the bond.
They also deepen appreciation, love, trust, respect and acceptance of one another.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post in the Relationship Success series.
I welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions.
In the next blog post I’ll talk a bit more about communication and compromise.