I was thinking about acceptance the other day and was realizing that this is a practice that might take a long time to get good at, especially when we are talking about relationships. You see, all of us pretty much like who we are. We like how we think, how we behave and act. We like our ways.
And many of us get really perturbed when our partner doesn’t agree with us. They might do something different than what we learned growing up. Or they might like something arranged differently then how we prefer. They might even say things we would never say.
I don’t know anyone who is not feeling greater stress during this time of year. Even terrific moments with people we love can cause us stress, and that’s if family and extended family are individuals we WANT to see. It’s even more stressful if we are acting out of obligation.
Whatever your circumstances, it’s probably likely there will be at least a few people who drive us up a wall and cause us enormous stress. Welcome to the holidays. Not to mention the numerous details; buying gifts, decorating, baking, cooking sending cards, and trying to be a loving person on top of all that.
I’m stressed just writing about it. Let’s just acknowledge it; Holidays are HARD! And they can be much harder if you turn on the one person who is your rock 90 percent of the time, your partner. Think right now what a good team you make during a crisis. Now ask yourself if you are pulling your hair out and fighting more than usual with your mate?
While self-soothing is an important skill to have, not every one knows how to practice it. Even so, anyone can develop it. That’s important because using self-soothing skills can not only improve your life, they can also enhance your relationship.
I was recalling a conversation I had recently with a friend who was sad about a situation in her relationship. I was feeling the depth of her suffering, her pain at not being understood or left out or feeling ignored. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was experiencing, but I did sense that she was very sad.
I was listening to a friend of mine talk about her family situation the other day. She was saying that when her grandson’s mother got sick, she and the mother’s best friend took care of the boy. Now that the mother is well the boy is going back to live with her. But the mother’s recovery was slow and the people parenting the child grew attached. So when the convalescence was over, and the child was about to rejoin his mother the other two temporary care-givers struggled with their own sense of loss.
My friend kept saying that everything is working out really well because all the adults involved kept asking the same question, “What is the best for the boy?” She said every time she asked herself the question she knew exactly what to do.
What if we applied this approach…to our relationships?
I was listening to someone talk about feeling lonely in their relationship the other day and I realized that sometimes I feel the same thing. It isn’t as often as it used to be, but sometimes it’s there; that wonder if my partner really loves me, or loves me in this moment or if my mate is thinking about me even though I can’t feel it.
I think it’s common for people who are close to another to sometimes feel this. I know over the years the wonder or worry has decreased. But earlier in my relationship I often wondered if my beloved loved me when I couldn’t feel it.