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Acceptance in Healthy Relationships

Acceptance in Healthy Relationships can lead to growth in yourself and others. Acceptance of yourself and the other person is important in a healthy relationship. Acceptance of yourself as you are right now and not how you will be after you lose weight or change your hair or makeup, or change in any other way. Acceptance of who you are right now and who your partner or other person in your relationship is right now, helps make way for change.

What is acceptance? Acceptance is facing reality and its present circumstances. Present circumstances might include who we are, where we live, who we live with or without, where we work, our transportation, how much money we have, what responsibilities we have and what we do for fun. Acceptance is easier when life is running smoothly but when challenges come that is when change is resisted. When our dreams and hopes for the future have to change, than acceptance becomes more difficult. Acceptance does not mean adapting to abuse. Abusive behavior is not part of acceptance. It means accepting and acknowledging our circumstances for the present moment, evaluating circumstances from a place of peace and making appropriate changes to solve the problem. Acceptance is for the present moment with sincerity and from the gut.

How do we accept losses, changes and problems others often hurl at us to achieve peace? Melody Beattie suggests every change brings us through a five stage process first defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as stages of grief. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
1. Denial is the state of refusal to accept reality and often shows up as minimizing the importance of what’s happening, denying feelings around the loss, or mental avoidance by sleeping, obsessing, compulsive behaviors and keeping busy.
2. Anger may come out as rational and/or irrational when confronting others about a problem. Professional help may be needed to avoid a catastrophe.
3. Bargaining is an attempt to postpone the inevitable and sometimes negotiations can be reasonable, productive and achievable and other times not.
4. Depression can be the exhaustion at the end of the struggle when reality sets in. This is the stage of the process that has been avoided up till now and we must surrender and perhaps forgive. The process is worked out and through.
5. Acceptance is not necessarily a happy time but it’s a letting go of the struggle and coming to terms with what is. This can be a time of peace.

Irene Haire, MC, RCAT, Registered Provisional Psychologist/Registered Art Therapist is in private practice in Edmonton at The GB Building Downstairs-9562- 82 Avenue, 780-232-1055 www.edmontonpsychologistpros.com/info@edmontonpsychologistpros.com