Acceptance vs. Appreciation in a Relationship

When you are in a relationship with someone, especially a close one, there are going to be things that they do that drive you nuts. Whether it is a spouse, sibling, parent, friend, etc. There are just going to be those things that are different from how you would do them or diametrically opposed to who you are.

This is OK. It’s natural. People are different.

We can’t really ignore these things. It’s not like we can just shut off our feelings. It’s very, very, hard to turn off the way we feel.

If we just simply accept these things, that might be OK — for a while. Every time your partner does that thing you can just shrug it off. Pretend it does not bother you. Let it go — until the next time. And then the next. And all of this shrugging takes a fair amount of energy. Eventually, you will tire. It will wear you down. Then the resentment will creep in. Then, those tiny little annoyances will either become much larger annoyances or add up cumulatively be the thing that breaks your relationship in two.

I’m here to offer another path. One that I have taken.

Find a way to appreciate these things. Find the something in them that leads to why you love this person. The motivation behind the thing that drives you nutty might be the thing that makes that person a really good friend or great at their job. Find that, see it for what it is, and above all learn to appreciate it. Instead of a path to resentment, this then will become the path to deeper respect, understanding, and love.

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