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Being accepted and appreciated for who you are

What could be more fundamental to a healthy, loving relationship than being accepted and appreciated for who you are? And yet, it's a common issue. Why is that?

One set of reasons boil down to challenges in communication and interpretation. The other set boil down to one person wanting something different than what the other person has to offer.

First of all, what does it mean to be 'accepted'? To accept someone, you don't necessarily have to agree with them (or what they may be requesting). But you do need to acknowledge and listen to them, without trying to change them or pass judgement.

If you want to show that you accept someone, making judgements (including categorizing, criticism or blame) does not help, as it creates a barrier to acceptance, where the other person doesn't share your judgement.

When you have a sense of being accepted, it's easier to relax, feel connected, and to share more of who you are. Also, it's much easier to show appreciation once you have shown acceptance, with the listening and acknowledgement which that involves.

Having fixed expectations of how things should be can be a major obstacle to being accepting of others. here talks more about expectations. Related to that, another common obstacle to acceptance is perceiving a threat from the other person. When we sense a threat it's hard to truly listen. For more about how that threat-focused state of mind affects our communication see here

Aside from the above obstacles, it could be the issue of acceptance reflects a lack of listening skills. While listening is an art, in essence it's a simple activity. It's about being open and observing not just someone's words, but their way of being. To listen deeply, implies deferring judgement indefinitely (as soon as we make our mind up about something we stop listening as fully).

Are there some simple things you can do to help someone accept and appreciate you more? Yes there are, but it depends on the situation.

Sometimes learning to be more assertive is the way forward. Other times what works really well is if you assure someone that you don't want to make them feel like they owe you anything, but that simply knowing that they value what you're doing, would bring you joy. Other times, first offering empathy to the other person and finding out what needs of theirs are going unmet, helps them be a lot more receptive to you.

"Healthy Loving Relationships" shows how acceptance and appreciation can be developed in a relationship. From the little moments of togetherness and sharing joyfully without obligation, to the related topics of emotional responsibility and assertiveness, this book explores how the key components of relationships fit together from many angles, taking you through how common sticking points can be overcome.

When it comes to being appreciated less than you'd like, aside from the points discussed above, sometimes (and without there being anything 'wrong' with you) this is an opportunity for positive self-change. Self-change is one of the major topics of "Healthy Loving Relationships", which details literally handfuls of effective approaches and how they can work in different ways and parts of your life.

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