Acceptance and Tolerance

Importance of Acceptance and tolerance

These qualities go hand in hand in building a strong relationship. We are all attracted to people who have qualities we like. In the initial stages of a relationship, it may seem as if the loved one can do no wrong. As the relationship matures, the next stage involves seeing how we’re different and those things that we don’t like. This is where the real growing begins!

Since we aren’t clones, we have to expect that we won’t always agree on everything. In order to have a harmonious relationship we need to respect the feelings, needs, and opinions of our partners as if they were our own.

That doesn’t mean we adopt them as our own, but we communicate what we want in ways that also respect our partners rights. In other words, we treat them with the same degree of respect that we have for ourselves. From that stance, we can negotiate and try to find a win/win position. Often there are ways in which both can get something of value to them.

Intolerance

Many relationship difficulties grow out of patterns that are learned in our families as children. When people grow up hearing a lot of criticism,  that gets taken into adulthood. We are mammals so we bond with what is there, but we can  do so in many ways.

A few common ones:

  • We may act like the critical people from our families. This usually means we have fairly rigid expectations for how people should be.
  • We may decide to be the opposite of what we received. If we have other healthier models to go by, we could be wonderfully accepting and tolerant. If we don’t, we may become “door mats” and be accepting of inappropriate behavior by others.
  • We may respond to criticism the same way we did as children – either submitting to it or rebelling against it.
  • We may treat ourselves very critically.

And of course, we may do any combination of these things.

The good news is that humans can learn new ways of being when they aren’t happy with something. With enough motivation and work, we can become more accepting and tolerant of others.

Next: Compromise and Willingness to Let Go

 

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