The quality of being understanding is sometimes underestimated. We think it’s effortless — that surely, one day, when we find our true love or the person that we’re meant to be with, we’ll automatically know how to accept them just as they are and understand every single move they make. But the truth is, a lot goes into being someone who’s understanding, not just to your partner but also in general.
To be understanding and accepting, first and foremost, we need to trust our loved ones. We need to believe that they’re human beings, too. They can make mistakes, they can sometimes hurt us, but they’re trying their best to live their lives. They might be as clueless as we are, too. Second, we need to let go of our need to control them or their choices. We need to realise that it is their responsibility to make their own choices, and it is our responsibility to control how we respond to their choices and the effects of it. What they do might cause anger or fear or jealousy to rise in us, but it is our responsibility to deal with our own hearts. It is our responsibility to choose our response.
Remember that our loved ones are free to choose what they give to us. “Any time you spend doing things for her is a gift from you; if you do not want to give it, you don’t have to.” This is an example of what boundaries look like. Setting boundaries is about taking ownership or control over your life — even with the things you thought you couldn’t control. Perhaps you’ve been on the other side of the line: you’ve gotten mad at your partner for making you do things you didn’t want to do before… but you did it anyway. Well, now you know that you don’t have to.
Remember that you can set up boundaries for your own health, the health of your relationship, and the growth of your partner. Perhaps it is time for all of us to stop blaming our partners for not being able to accurately predict where or how we draw our lines, and start communicating and setting our boundaries clearly. Perhaps it is time to start taking ownership of our own responsibilities, recognising our limits, and controlling how we respond to the decisions of our loved ones.
“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” We can’t control what our loved ones choose to give to us, but we can control how we receive it. Don’t forget to choose to understand.