To be accepted by the partner, with all strengths and weaknesses - who doesn't want that! Acceptance is the basis of a happy partnership. But what exactly is meant by “acceptance”?
I think a relationship is only really happy when both partners accept each other without any ifs or buts. Okay, that sounds pretty demanding. But I just cannot imagine that a relationship will work if there is a constant “but” in the room. Acceptance is the foundation of a successful relationship. We want to be accepted and loved in a relationship for who we are, with all strengths and weaknesses, light and dark sides. As ideally as when our parents were children.
What acceptance (not) means
In order to clear up a possible misunderstanding in advance: Acceptance must not be confused with tolerance, i.e. - in the literal sense - enduring and enduring. Acceptance, as I understand it in the context of a relationship, is not directed to the outside, but to the inside of a person, to his inner world.
If I accept my partner, it does not mean that I am also ready to endure or even approve of any behavior on their part. That I always make a good face to the bad game. Rather, it means that I am willing to look curiously and courageously at how he is doing, "look at" his feelings, his wishes, desires, needs, thoughts, fantasies and whatever else there is to discover in him. And that I, as it were, allow this inner life to be there, not "make it away", deny it, suppress it or devalue it. Everything inside can just be there for the time being and is accepted by me as it is at the moment, open and value-free. That can be the inner world of the partner, but of course also my own.
If I do not have this willingness, I signal to my partner: Your feeling (need, desire, etc.) must not be. I try to control it, manipulate it or even eliminate it. But what is being fought defends itself and can quickly grow larger. For example, if I'm scared, just thinking about my fear and desperately trying to "get rid of" it, it gets even bigger.
Accepting the partner means opening up to the partner's inner world, viewing it without judgment and letting it be as it is. One could also speak of esteem or respect. However, acceptance does NOT explicitly mean to approve of all behavior that results from feelings and thoughts. Just because you're angry, for example, doesn't mean you have to yell, insult, or even become violent. And such behavior should never be accepted or tolerated!
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Acceptance can be trained. Here are a few things to think about: