Self acceptance is one of those things that gets talked about a lot on the internet these days. I’m sure you’ve seen it being tossed around on the ‘net – self empowerment books, self esteem workshops for women, admonishments that you can’t truly love someone else if you don’t love yourself first.
Honestly, I have a bit of an issue with that last one. I’ve known some beautiful people, friends and partners, who were great at giving love openly and generously to others, but still didn’t feel that same love towards themselves.
I’ve been thinking a lot about self acceptance lately though, and how it can make a real difference to our relationships. I still hold to what I said above – but I am starting to realize that self acceptance definitely colors how we act in relationships and what we are willing to accept.
I know for sure that my relationship changed when I accepted myself more, which is what I would like to share with you today. This is how self acceptance made me see my relationship in new light.
I Didn’t Always Accept Myself
I think most of us don’t accept ourselves that much unless we make a conscious effort to start. We’re taught that we need to get good grades and look a certain way and all kinds of other things, and if we don’t meet those goals, it can be hard to accept ourselves. And so many of us come up against bullies, both in the schoolyard and beyond, which can really knock our self esteem.
I know for sure that I didn’t always accept myself. I thought I was too introverted and ought to be getting “out there” more. I wished I could be one of those sparkling life and soul of the party types.
I Tried To Persuade My Partner To Be Tag Along To Everything
Honestly, my partner must have got so tired of me inviting him to church picnics, nights out with friends in our neighborhood, even work events. I was so focused on what I thought I should do, that I didn’t really take enough time to check in with him and find out what he wanted to do, and where he wanted to go.
And I didn’t realize that in trying to change myself, I was trying to change the person he fell in love with. The person who bonded with him over our favorite books and enjoyed long relaxed movie nights before Netflix and Chill was even a thing.
Self Acceptance Removed So Much Stress From My Relationship
I got stressed about all the things we “had to do.” And then I got stressed when my partner didn’t want to do them, or my calendar got too full, or I lost one of my shoes right before we had to get out the door.
My life was becoming filled with stress, all because I wasn’t being true to myself and accepting myself.
It all came to a head one night when I told my partner we were going to the church potluck this coming Saturday.
“Do we really have to go out again?” he asked me “can’t we just have a relaxed night in front of the TV for once?”
It sounded so tempting, and it got me to thinking: Why was I doing all this? Who was it for? My partner loved me as I was – an introverted homebody who’d rather put on my favorite movie than put on my best shoes. Maybe it was time to accept that he loved me for who I am – and maybe it was time I started doing the same.
Accepting Ourselves Changes How We Relate To Others
Everything got better after that night because I accepted who I am and honored it. I felt happier and calmer because I was no longer trying to force myself to do things I didn’t want to do, I wasn’t putting so much pressure on my partner to do them with me. It was like all the clouds cleared and everything became clear.
Embracing my natural introversion is an example of how truly accepting ourselves can change how we see ourselves and our relationships. Sometimes what we judge as tension or unhappiness in our relationship is really an inner struggle. Unfortunately, there are also times when we are trying to mold ourselves to fit our partner, and when we really accept who we are, the relationship might not fit us anymore.
But whatever happens, if you accept yourself first, you can rest easy knowing you’re approaching your relationship from a place of truth and authenticity. When you accept and live from your real self, you give yourself the opportunity of finding a partner who loves you for exactly who you are.
Author Bio:-Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.