Accept Them For Who They Are: Freedom in Relationships

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it. ~ Abraham Lincoln: Letter to H.L. Pierce, April 6, 1859

Relationships are sometimes a quagmire of emotion,
misunderstandings,Couple Upset and unmet expectations. Rather than feeling free and joyful, we often find ourselves feeling trapped and frustrated. I sometimes hear people lament, “I was really happy before we got together. I think I’m better off alone.” Despite the challenges of relationships, we all have boundless opportunities for intimacy and joy in a partnership. It’s just a matter of practicing what really works and giving up those things that get in our way.

The main ingredients of healthy partnerships
are effective communication, compatibility, authenticity, commitment, and love. The “secret” element, however, is acceptance; it’s a hidden but integral part of every other ingredient. Acceptance truly helps all relationships because it is a gift of freedom.

Living in Austin, Texas, can be difficult in the summer heat.
Interestingly, when I ask people about it, they generally have an easy-going attitude. The reason for this is that they see it as a “natural” occurrence, a fact of life.Couple Umbrella Yet those same people don’t see relationships in the same light. When we think about it, people agree that failures and emotions are a part of life. We intellectually understand no one is perfect and that even our best friends will sometimes let us down or get angry with us. Unfortunately, when it actually happens, when one’s spouse or girlfriend becomes highly emotional or behaves contrary to his desire, the response is frequently frustration, surprise, and resentment. Emotions and mistakes in relationships are natural but we often don’t see them that way.

Acceptance in relationships
says, “People in my life, including those I’m closest to, are going to make blunders, and more than occasionally will be angry, sad, depressed, or scared. I accept this as natural. I don’t condone the mistakes of others, but I don’t judge them either. Instead, I practice compassion and seek to understand them. I see emotion as part of the tapestry of life, something we all are learning to deal with. I don’t shy away from emotion; it’s life. I’m also not a doormat: I practice dealing with the ups and downs of others as effectively as I can. I speak up about wrong-doing. I listen to others’ frustrations with me with a willing ear, but I don’t tolerate abuse.”

Acceptance leads to freedom
Child and Balloon in relationships because one is no longer tied down by the bonds of expectation and demand. A person can still desire and hope for certain outcomes; but with acceptance, he frees himself from the result, whatever it may be. Acceptance is the gift of freedom to others and to oneself.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
Freedom in Relationships with Acceptance – Article © 2009

Where Does Our Sense of Right and Wrong Come From?

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. ~ Isaac Asimov

Striving to be good
, kindhearted, or understanding can be as debilitating as any addiction. Others may speak up; but many, often women, give in to people by use of a misguided idea of virtue. Is this you? You are likely capable, industrious, intelligent, and “nice.” For you pleasing others and stuffing uncomfortable emotions is a way of life; you avoid the slightest appearance of confrontation. Because assertiveness seems mean, you may tolerate abuse. Alternately, you store anger, punish yourself with guilt, and then try again to be the better person.

Goodness in adulthood
is valuable only when practiced with maturity and wisdom. In the absence of discernment it creates intense self-doubt, anger, and loss of self-identity. A person who lives like this often feels crazy in a relationship.

Blind compliance
and the desire to be good are often a measure of one’s need to feel loved and accepted. This need is natural, but mindless acquiescence is avoidance of responsibility. It’s an ineffective response that leads to hopelessness and resentment. You can’t create good relationshipsDetermined Woman or contentment in your life just by being good. When a course of action does not honor and dignify you or others, then you must learn to choose another. You train others to treat you according to your self-image and by your willingness or unwillingness to speak up for and do what is right. You certainly should listen to and consider what others say, but you must be true to yourself. Look for what is real and take responsibility for your choices and their consequences.

In order to live joyfully
and to your true potential, be bold and courageous. Create the determination within yourself to experience the truth that love and assertiveness are not mutually exclusive. Learn to be both respectful of others and self-respecting. You’ve been good much of your life, but that isn’t enough. Be authentic, trust, and honor yourself.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin Texas
When Being Good Doesn’t Work © 2009

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

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