In my last blog I wrote about my plans to travel with my father. By now, we have launched ourselves into the trip and I am in Turkey attempting to remember a language I spoke about 4 decades ago. The point of last week’s post was acceptance. Accepting yourself and others for who they are and how that is a most deeply loving act.

This time, I want to focus on the balancing act that comes with acceptance in a relationship; the balance between accepting a person just as they are and not losing yourself or your own needs in the process.

Different people have different tendencies. Some people are naturally more sensitive to others and some are more naturally aware of their own needs. Neither is better than the other and often one person can be both at different times, swinging back and forth as if on a pendulum depending on the situation or relationship at hand.

Acceptance is a deeply generous and loving act. But if you lean too far forward into another’s point of view, you can lose your grounding. In those moments, that loving acceptance becomes a fearful tension-filled stickiness that binds another to you and, at bottom, isn’t about acceptance at all.

Or there is the other side, where you want so badly to be right or resist being hurt so much that your expectations get in the way of acceptance and, ultimately, love.

Balancing the two sides requires rigorous honesty with yourself. It takes finding just where the stuck places are. Do you have to be right? Where do you let your expectations take dominate? Or perhaps, at the other end of the spectrum, are you sacrificing yourself and your own needs? Do you feel resentment or maybe just an underlying feeling of not being at peace?

Finding the answers to these questions can help cultivate the qualities that can allow you to accept others and yourself completely. Qualities like courage and flexibility can be nurtured as you accept responsibility for yourself and release the resistance to being hurt by others. And that balance, between strength and vulnerability, allows everyone the peace to just be exactly who they are.

Author's Bio: 

Melanie McGhee, L.C.S.W. is an award-winning author, relationship expert, psychotherapist and spiritual coach. She is also the founder of Abhimukti Yoga Coaches - providing coaches training to yoga teachers.