Ask Parvati 36: Compromise, Acceptance and Getting the Love You Want – Part 3: Acceptance and Insight
ACCEPTANCE AND INSIGHT
(Continued from Acceptance Versus Resignation)
Let’s look at a simple relationship example, perhaps one you have experienced before. Your partner wants to go to the movies. You really want to stay home and tackle some unfinished household chores you both have left lingering that weigh on you. You don’t get how he/she could want to go to the movies when these chores are pending. He/she does not get why you are so fixated on chores when there is fun to be had.
This pattern has been going on for some time in your relationship. In fact, when the topic of movies comes up, you feel resentment. In your eyes, your partner wants to “goof off” — sigh! — again. You want to be practical and move forward, unburden your lives by facing things that need attention. You don’t want distractions. You want action.
From your partner’s point of view, you don’t have enough fun. You are too serious, wanting to plan for the future rather than live for the now and go out on the town and have fun. He/she feels you don’t go out enough, and he/she needs more lightness in the relationship. Staying home and doing chores feels too confining.
If you were to give in, perhaps you would just go to the movie, telling yourself that it makes him/her happy. But then you begin to linger in resentment, because the house remains unattended and your needs are not met. This is not a win-win. To me, win-lose exchanges in a relationship are ultimately lose-lose. It is one of the poisons leading to eventual relationship demise. They are to be avoided.
If you were to quietly sit down and discuss together the options that make both of you happy and try to find a compromise, you may agree to do chores for part of the day, then take a break and go to the movies. If you feel good about that and so does he/she, then you have found a win-win.
Beyond compromise, is the notion of acceptance. If you are aware that your partner has a tendency to, in your opinion, want to “goof off”, you must ask yourself what is really going on. Acceptance is your best friend. You must accept that your partner has this tendency, which is different than yours. You don’t necessarily like this tendency, nor do you want to encourage it, but you accept it. Accepting it does not mean that you give in, and only go to the movies. Accepting means that you understand you have divergent tendencies and that in the co-creative flow, in a life-affirming relationship, in the state of balance there is room for both. Both of you are imperfect and evolving.
Different people with diverging tendencies often get together to help balance each other out and encourage personal growth. That may be the case in this example. If you feel rooted, vital and expansive when you go out to the movies a little more often than you usually would, and have a happy helper to tackle household chores, then your reality has expanded thanks to your relationship. We must strive for that kind of partnership, where our relationships help to broaden our sense of reality and our sense of self to include a bigger picture of life, to enrich who we are.
When you accept a tendency in your partner that is divergent from yours, you begin to see a bigger picture and feel less personally attacked when you partner does something that would not be your first choice. If you accept his/her tendency, you will see that likely, this weekend, the topic of a movie or going out on the town will come up. Rather than having your feathers ruffled, you will see your partner doing his/her thing, as it is. It may be an opportunity to see life through different eyes. It does not become a personal attack on your need to tend to household chores. In that place of acceptance, you can remain calm, understanding and ultimately loving for the need your partner is expressing. In that place of calm, you can also clearly express your needs: that even though you enjoy movies, and you would be open to that, you also want to make sure it does not eclipse the practical need for chores. By accepting your partner, you are also accepting yourself. In so doing you begin to see your partner more clearly and you also share yourself more fully.
If the need to go to the movies is all your partner ever wishes for and he/she does not want to do household chores, you need to vocalize this misbalance. If there is no budge, then perhaps you need to make a decision if this relationship is right for you. You may simply want different things, have different life priorities and personal goals. There is nothing wrong with that. People can part ways amicably. In fact, that is a sign that a breakup is the resolving of some unfinished karma. If you leave angry, judgmental or resentful, the likelihood is, you will meet similar patterns in your next partner until these patterns are clear in you.
When you start to accept a tendency in your partner, you begin to see beyond the need to go to the movies, for example, as an isolated issue. You begin to inquire into and ask yourself (or your partner, depending on how open he/she is), Where does this desire come from? Is it an expression of his/her joy? Is it a diversion? Does it help bring you out of your shell because you are scared to let loose? Is it actually a way he/she hides from his/her fear of making commitments and building for your future? Does the tendency come from hiding or opening?
Acceptance creates a seedbed for insight to grow. When we accept what is, our consciousness opens to meet it. We can then see the moment in fullness, for what it is and make wiser, more compassionate choices.
With greater compassion and understanding, the next time the topic of the movie comes up, you see the bigger picture. You see your flow, you see his/her flow. You also know that there is a whole, supporting each one of you together and individually. There is balance somewhere, waiting for you, that you can invite in.
Part of this week’s question was when do you know if you should stay in a relationship. Tomorrow we will look at Getting The Love You Want.
Enjoy the day,