Acceptance is all about valuing your partner. It means having and using your ability to understand, be open-minded and flexible and tolerant. Acceptance does not mean agreeing with your partner on hundred percent of the time, it’s ok to disagree. Acceptance it means you believe that no matter their mistakes, they are trying to do the right thing. Remember, everyone makes mistakes. Here are some ways you and your partner might show acceptance towards each other as opposed to tolerance:
- You accept them as they are – acceptance means your ‘are fine with’ their flaws and love them as they are. Tolerance is more about wishing they would change.
- You are accepting of their needs – your partner may have a standing catch up with their best friend every week, although you say ‘no worries, have a good time’ you could be accepting of their plans or just tolerating. If while they are out you find yourself thinking ‘why don’t they hurry up’, ‘they have been out for ages’ or ‘why do they have to do this every week’, you are just tolerating their needs. If your thought process is more along the lines of ‘I’m glad they’re out having fun’ or ‘its so nice they have such a reliable friendship’, this sounds more like acceptance.
- You accept their differences instead of trying to change them – when dating someone, you find out they have a difference to you that you see as a deal breaker, something like religion may have this effect. If you continue to see them, it is likely that you will always just be tolerating this behaviour which can lead to resentment long term.
- You don’t get easily irritated by your partner – when you accept your partner you won’t get easily irritated by their behaviour. If you are tolerating their behaviour, you will get irritated very easily as you won’t have accepted the fact that you can’t change it.
- You are good at seeing the positive side of their less desirable traits – if they are selfish, you can admire their ability to self-care, if they are arrogant, you can probably admire their intelligence. In tolerance, your patience is wearing thing and you’re hoping nothing else get added to the pile.
Acceptance is a key factor in a healthy relationship, if you cannot accept you partners quirks and flaws, how can you grow and move forward? Acceptance allows you to recognize and enjoy the positive aspects of your partner which can lead to greater intimacy. When each of you feel accepted, you’re more willing and able to listen to and understand each other’s perspectives which makes it easier to work as a team. Acceptance is different to tolerance. When tolerating something in another person, you are barley putting up with it and feel negative about its occurrence, acceptance involves more appreciation and understanding.