“Accepting all the good and bad about someone. It’s a great thing to aspire to. The hard part is actually doing it.” – Sarah Dessen
“Acceptance of others, their looks, their behaviors, their beliefs, brings you an inner tranquility and peace – instead of anger and resentment.” – Anonymous
The Meaning of Acceptance
Acceptance is a noble thing to aspire to, especially if you want to have success in your love relationship.
Acceptance is about letting go of how you want another to be and act.
Acceptance is about “going with the flow,” the opposite of control that can drive anyone far away—even nuts.
Acceptance doesn’t mean blind resignation. It means seeing someone more clearly, for exactly what he or she is all about–their true essence.
Acceptance is an energy changer and creates an opening to love another more freely and passionately, without the need to build them into your own ego-driven fantasy.
Acceptance can create a true and realistic vision for the future, and that can translate into enduring love success.
*Disclaimer: You don’t ever have to accept any form of abuse, be it physical, emotional, or sexual—period.
So, when it comes to our partners, what do we really need to accept about them, if we desire meaningful and lasting relationships?
Check out the following list of things that you might want to keep in mind regarding true acceptance:
1) You can’t change your partner. Many of us just can’t resist the attempt to change basic things about our partner. We usually want them to think like us, act like us, even wear their hair like us. Well, forget it; it won’t work. Trying to change another is an act of futility, a waste of time, destined not to succeed. It’s the opposite of true acceptance. So don’t do it!
2) You can’t fix or save your partner. In my psychotherapy practice, I see so many individuals attempting to “fix” their partner, especially when it comes to things like addiction or other behavioral challenges. Although usually with good intentions, they think they can actually save their loved ones from the necessity and pain of having to look within, in order to heal themselves. Recovering from anything is an inside job, not something imposed upon by another. For your own self-development, you might consider accepting this fact.
3) Accept their mistakes. By nature, humans aren’t perfect; we all have flaws. We’re only human, imperfect beings, who make mistakes all the time. If you can’t accept this reality, then you’ll never fully accept your partner. Therefore, accepting another’s imperfections, whatever they happen to be, is an act of true acceptance. Perfectionists and successful relationships do not go together; they just don’t mix.
4) Celebrate the differences. You’re not him, and he’s not you; accept it. Accept that you are not clones of each other, and that each of you have your own particular set of needs and wants. These differences are what make love and intimacy interesting and, in the end, successful. So, accept your partner by celebrating the differences.
5) Accept your lover’s history through unselfish acts of support. We all carry emotional baggage from the past. If we can honor and acknowledge the other’s past, be it abuse (including the way in which it was overcome), then we’re on our way to real acceptance. If we can embrace their history, good and bad, then we can be a solid support to them. We can’t fix, but we can support. It’s through loving acts of support that we can truly accept the other.
6) Accept the fact that we can’t read minds. Very few of us are mind readers. It drives me crazy when anyone professes to know what I’m thinking. In fact, it pisses me off! I can’t read minds, and I don’t expect anyone to read mine. What I can do, though, is routinely check in with my partner and ask them directly about what they’re feeling or thinking, in that particular moment; that’s positive communication. Then again, another form of true acceptance, is allowing their refusal to answer me—whether I like it or not!
7) They won’t always behave like I want them to behave. We are not clones! In fact, we’re all individuals, with different intentions, drives, and ways of reacting to various situations. To expect your partner to behave just like you do is plain ridiculous. It’s preposterous, so don’t do it! Conversely, to have the patience and the knowledge that we all behave and react differently, constitutes acceptance of the highest order.
8) Accept how your partner loves. We all express our love to others in different ways. Some of us show our love by being helpful, trustworthy, and kind. Some of us speak tender words of love, or consistently demonstrate our undying loyalty by showing up for those we truly care about. Others shower affection onto their loved ones. Some of us show our love by joyfully cooking a meal for the other, while others offer a simple smile, humor, a warm hug, or through the intimate act of making love. Accepting your partner’s particular way of expressing their love, is something to be fully aware of, understood, and honored.
Note: It’s a two-way street.
9) Honor the good times and the bad times. All love relationships have their ups and downs. This is a reality, something that needs to be recognized, right from the beginning. Too many of us resist this truth and end up needlessly sabotaging our relationships, because we can’t or don’t want to deal with reality on reality’s terms. Many of us expect relationships to always run smoothly and easily, without much effort. (If only it worked that way!) But those who can accept and hang in there with their partners, during both the good times and the bad times, will ultimately have the inside track to love success.
10) Accept the amends. We all screw up, right? When my significant other takes the time (and courage) to express regret or makes a sincere apology, I need to receive and validate it, not reject it. Real acceptance of another’s apology needs to be embraced—that is, if the desired end result is a peaceful and lasting partnership. Likewise, I need to be humble enough to offer up my own apology, when appropriate, without being attached to my partner’s reaction. Forgive, forgive, and forgive. Accept, accept, accept.
Acceptance is the key
So, these are only a few themes of acceptance when dealing with your life partner, or even a part-time lover, for that matter.
I’m sure there’s a lot more “things” to accept in another, to ensure long-term love success. But, hopefully, these few suggestions may help.
Let’s face it: full acceptance of the other is a challenge, yet it comes with many lasting rewards – if only we’d do it more often.
At the end of the day, acceptance is the key that unlocks the way to lasting love…
What kinds of acceptance do you need to practice, in order to ensure long-lasting love success? We’d love for you to add your own suggestions or stories in the comment section below. We, and my readers, will surely appreciate it!