By Staci Welch-Bartley
“Yes I did!” shouted my grandson with tears streamed down his face. “No you didn’t!” replied the eight other grandkids I was caring for.
The grandson claiming that he had indeed brushed his teeth ran to me in a full-blown tizzy! “Grandma, tell them that I brushed my teeth! I did. I swear. Make them believe it!” he wailed.
How many times do we experience a grown-up version of this scenario in our relationships? We have something that we know in our hearts to be true for ourselves, and it upsets us because we can’t seem to get our partner to agree with our truth. We somehow get caught up in needing their approval to validate what we already know and desire in our hearts.
A great saying that comes to mind is, “The best way to gain self-approval is to not need it.”
Another saying that rings true on this subject is from my big brother Greg, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one! Just do your thing!”
In relationships, we spend so much of our time and energy doing what my grandson was doing. We desperately seek and work to obtain the approval, acceptance, and “buy in” from our partner. We believe somehow that if we don’t obtain this much-needed stamp of approval, what we know to be true disappears, and when it does, it must and cannot be true for ourselves any longer. So then we fight.
To help with this, here are a few quick reminders to think about:
- We all have different experiences that we bring into a relationship.
- We all have different perceptions of any given situation.
- Our opinions come from our experiences, or the lack of experience in some cases.
- We all have different needs, wants, and places of personal growth that are unique to us.
- Instead of approval, we are better off to gain understanding, support and, perhaps at times a bit of help, in spite of opinions.
- It is healthy in your relationship to “agree to disagree” on topics and issues you do not see eye to eye on.
- Honor and respect your partner for their differences. This is what keeps life fun, interesting and personal growth and evolution moving forward. (This is probably responsible for why you fell in love with them in the first place.)
The next time you want to scream and throw a fit because you are not getting the validation and approval you are seeking, take a breath. Remember what my big brother says about opinions and smile. Then go about validating and accepting fabulous you for all of your uniqueness!