Acceptance is a really hard thing. It can take time to truly understand in theory and sometimes a lifetime to perfect in practice.

I’m still working on acceptance in a number of different areas in my life but most notably with my partner. I’ve written before about this when I wrote about the book “If Life Is A Game, Here Are The Rules” where I said,

I struggle with acceptance most in my relationship with my husband. Accepting that who he is right without needing change. It’s a challenging proposition to the deep down inside of me but a worthy focus for me to work on. I have to remind myself from time to time that we aren’t working against each other. I fear continuing a cycle where some part of my children will believe that a partner is sometimes an enemy.

Picking "one more thing"

I’ve come quite a ways since writing that post in the spring. It feels good even though I know I’ll likely be working on this to some degree for the remainder of my marriage and life. The practice of acceptance is a constant undertaking but easier when I remember that my children are learning how to be by watching and modelling my behaviour.

Cairn fun

Assuming positive intentions is a big part of the process for me. When my partner says or does something that I might initially think is done to irk me I change my frame of mine to assume positive intent. Even if he really did say or do it to irk me, I realise that there’s more going on for him than he may not be able to even articulate in himself. As Marshall Rosenberg says “Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need.” Remembering this helps me feel compassionate, especially in the heat of the moment.

Twinkling

This last week I learned a new lesson. To allow my husband his own feelings without comment or unsolicited discussion. In the past I’ve attempted conversation that would hopefully help him find clarity in his thoughts, but this kind of conversation is not something he enjoys and frankly, I think my motives were more selfish than I first realised. I think I hear what he says and feel like it reflects on me in some way. I try and fix it because I don’t share his thoughts and don’t want how he feels to define me, especially to others. I’m focusing more now on just trying to just hear him and offer small amounts of empathy or listen and not say anything at all.

Beefy and Daddy

Letting go of quietly critiquing and actively trying to change my partner has given me more time to simply be happy. Making myself happy brings more peace into our relationship. My husband doesn’t have to change, or read that great book that has offered me so much insight, or tell me he loves me more or …

I’m still planning on sharing inspiring books I’ve been reading, including a couple focused on relationships. I don’t have nearly the time I’d like to to blog about all that I wish to share!

22 Responses to Acceptance

  1. Rea says:

    Acceptance. So wise. So difficult! So important. Thanks for sharing something personal. I would love a peek at that book list when you get to it.
    notsospanish.wordpress.com

  2. Katherine says:

    Lovely. Thank you.

  3. greenteacher says:

    thank you :)

  4. Debbie says:

    Acceptance; something I’m always working on too. It really can be so difficult to just let others be, to love them for who they are, unconditionally.

    Thanks you so much for sharing this, Annie. It really resonated with me. xo

  5. minnegrl says:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Letting go and accepting is difficult- we put on our best selves when dating but as we age and mature in our marriages, we stop working on putting our best selves forward…being real is important but so important are good manners, forgiveness, and putting forth that effort…to be courteous always and to honor each other……remember your boundaries: setting those is important for all parties- alas I learned this too late…

  6. Krista says:

    Annie, it sounds like you’re experiencing a lot of growth and feeling excited about the shifts you’re experiencing. Acceptance is a beautiful thing, I’m happy you’re finding your way. This post was like a breath of fresh air. I love to read about people’s journeys and growth! I’d love to see us all give each other that little break from doubting or criticizing or judging – and just for a moment, assume positive intent. There would be no need for fighting, misunderstandings or defending ourselves. All that would be left would be curiosity. Now for us all to be on the same page at least that far…. *sigh* It’s such a huge paradigm shift. A worthy goal to work toward.

  7. Lise says:

    I’ve been thinking lately that amidst all the lovely crafts and recipes and decorating and inspiration I find on blogs, I would occasionally read a post that lets me know those bloggers are also struggling with the difficult relationship issues I face (and I assume others face). That’s where I’m needing inspiration most right now. Thanks for this.

  8. Bridie says:

    This really resonated with me. Thanks : )

  9. Rosina says:

    Hmm, acceptance… that’s something that I think we all struggle with. It has taken me 13 years to learn to accept my husbands differences from myself and to not try to change him LOL. Letting go like you said does make for more happiness not to say that I’ve completely given up on changing some of those things that just drive me slightly insane… I just plot in silence now *grin*.

    Thank you for sharing something so very personal to you. It’s so nice to see that others feel the same :) Looking forward to seeing your booklist when you get time.

  10. Annie says:

    I appreciate the comments! This is a post I’d been writing in my head for a while now but a brief mention at supper the other night with my girlfriends got me finally typing it out.

    Lise- It’s true that not everyone wants to share the hard parts of their lives. Fair enough, right? We shouldn’t have to share more than we’re comfortable with. It’s just good to remember that we all have the same struggles to some degree. I personally enjoy the catharsis of writing about it. When I first started blogging, I would never have made a post like this public but I do in part because I’m not embarrassed or ashamed and I enjoy the connection with others and the realising that I’m not alone in my feelings and struggles! That feels very good! It’s like we can grow together.

    Books coming soon! xx

  11. Erin says:

    I was moved when I read this, for many personal reasons, and in the way Krista talked about above. I find it is refreshing to take a step back, in the present and describe what is vital and alive in us right now. To practise acceptance of ourselves, and the people we are in close relationship with.

    I struggle with this aspect of sharing it, too, and have recently gone through growth around acceptance, with regards to sharing about grieving. My blog has been a place where that catharsis happens for me too, and I need to remember that one of the main reasons I blog is for myself, to see my process of life from a different perspective, and gain clarity or see where I’ve grown or strengthened or still struggle. Grief doesn’t attract a huge audience, you know (though I find it encouraging that many who read my blog can be with it!!), and I thought it would turn people away or turn them off, as in “who wants to read about that stuff so close to the holidays?” But emotions are real and alive in us, and connect us. Nothing needs to be fixed, or taken apart and analyzed or…we can just hear each other and be received.

    I am receiving you today Annie with love and an open heart and mind. :-) Thank you.

    ~Erin xo

  12. Nancy says:

    Annie, I think you crystallized the issue in our home and also in the relationships of many people I observe; ‘assuming good intentions’ is the very core of keeping trust alive in a marriage.

    I’ve also found that laughing about the tough situations creates a stronger partnership. Instead of getting mad at him, sharing a private chuckle about the unpredictability of children (and life) has pulled us through some tough moments and helped us get past old ways of communicating.

  13. natalie says:

    Thank you for this Annie. It is so delightful to hear your thoughts about this. You are inspiring me to see my relationship in a new light. I have similar issues in this.

    Also I am amazed at that photo in the middle with the lichen, fir branches, dew drops and that magical light. You are a wizard with that camera of yours:)
    xo

  14. jenny says:

    Annie, I needed to hear this. Thanks. I don’t write a lot about my marriage on my blog because my husband likes his anonymity (for various reasons, mostly job-related), and I try to respect that–but acceptance is definitely something I am working on myself. I had a big revelation this year that he does not exist only for me (isn’t that a terrible thing that it took me so long!). He is a blessing to me. I go through waves of gratitude, but I am trying be present in that thankfulness at all times now. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  15. tai says:

    Thanks for sharing this Annie. It is such a difficult issue, one that really never ends really, and I appreciate your openness. I look forward to hearing what books you are finding inspiring. hugs.

  16. carrie says:

    So good to know there are others on the same path. My husband and I have made some tremendous leaps in connection this past year because I have discovered many holes in my own inner work. In fact, we have also made some huge decisions for our family and some big changes coming in the next year because of this. It feels wonderful to have a partner of the soul. Thank you for sharing.

  17. sarah says:

    thanks annie- so good to remember

  18. Larissa Goruk says:

    It’s very refreshing and helpful to hear your thoughts and those of the other bloggers. At the same time, I wonder if there is a male issue at work here, where you have to lump some things because men just aren’t as evolved as women at this time. Any opinions on this? thanks

  19. Annie says:

    My husband doesn’t consider himself as “emotionally sophisticated” as I am and I think a lot of men think this way. I gather it has a lot to do with how they are raised and in part because they are simply men but I also think that with exposure and practice men can grow to be more emotionally aware. Do you think this could be true?

  20. Larissa Goruk says:

    Definitely true. And it’s that little willingness on the part of even “traditional” men to listen a little bit, to be aware of emotions, that encourages me. When I am with a man, or some women, who have little or no use for emotions, then it discourages me. I currently have a woman friend who is a biologist by profession and who often uses “masculine” modes of thinking and speaking. She likes to talk about what’s going on in her life, but cannot listen to me when I talk about mine. Then she says that time’s a-wasting and we should get to work on our joint musical project. I think that she is simply unaware of her own emotional needs for companionship and support and what she does to satisfy them. The thing is that my family was that way, following my father’s example, as we did in most things. I am trying to gravitate to people who have a freer emotional range, while at the same time, not resenting the many fine people (who I seem to gravitate to) who belittle the emotional (read personal) life. Any ideas on this? thanks

  21. Annie says:

    I think you’re right to not resent people for not being able or willing to be as emotionally open as you’d prefer. This is the kind of acceptance I strive for. I don’t always feel it easily but I certainly work to accept others for the way they naturally are or choose to be.

    I have many different friends that meet different needs of mine. Some have similar interests but we don’t maintain a close or deep connection and others are so different from me but we meet each others needs for conversation and deep understanding and a ton of friends in between. I hope you find more in the more close friendship sort of way. xx

  22. Larissa Goruk says:

    thank you so much, and blessings your way

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