The Friendly Divorce: Let the Other Person be the Way He or She Is:
(Provided by: How to Divorce As Friends, by Bill Ferguson)
The experience of love is created by giving the gift of unconditional acceptance and appreciation. It's letting someone be exactly the way he or she is. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. Some people and the things they do are very difficult to accept. Fortunately, non-acceptance is an illusion. At any moment, people are the way they are whether you accept them or not. This is also true for the other person in your relationship. No matter how difficult that person may be, that person is still the way he or she is. How you feel about the person is totally irrelevant. Hating the way someone is doesn't change a thing. That person is still the way he or she is. Acceptance is nothing more than being at peace with the truth.

When you are at peace with the truth of how someone is, you can see what you need to do, and you can interact in a way that is supportive. When you fight the way someone is, you create a state of upset. You lose your ability to see clearly, and you interact in a way that creates opposition and resistance against yourself. We think that if we just get upset enough, the other person will somehow get the hint and become exactly the way we want him or her to be. Obviously, this doesn't happen. In fact, the more you resist the way someone is, the worse that person becomes.

Look at how you feel when someone resists or tries to change you. How do you feel about changing? You don't want to. You get upset and resistant. You could care less about changing. You also become more judgmental and critical toward the person. The same thing happens when you resist someone else. That person then gets hurt and puts up his or her walls of protection. Then automatically, that person either resists, attacks or withdraws. That person acts just like you do when someone resists or tries to change you. When you can't be at peace with the truth of how someone is, you destroy love and make your situation worse. You fuel the cycle of conflict. As this cycle grows, the experience of love disappears. The relationship suffers and everyone gets hurt. Life becomes one big upset, and the other person seems to be the cause. But this isn't the truth. The other person is just the way he or she is. The cause of the upset is you. You create the upset by not allowing the other person to be the way he or she is.

Resisting the truth is like demanding that the zebra grow spots or that the sun doesn't set. Resisting the truth doesn't change a thing. It just creates more suffering. When you give up your demands for how someone should be and make peace with the way he or she is, you release your upset. You restore your ability to see what needs to be done. Letting someone be the way he or she is, is an act of granting permission, a declaration of allowing. It's saying, "I give you full permission to be the way you are, and I give up my right to complain about it forever." This doesn't mean that you like the way the person is or approve of what he or she does. It just means that you are at peace with the truth. Once you let the other person be the way he or she is, you may discover that he or she isn't the type of person you want to be married to. That's okay.

You can let the person be exactly the way he or she is, somewhere else. You don't have to hold your breath waiting for a miracle. You can let the person be the way he or she is, and you can get on with your life.

You also don't have to give the person whatever he or she demands. You don't have to let the person do whatever he or she feels like doing. Sometimes you need to say no. Sometimes you need to take a strong stand to keep from being bowled over. Do whatever you need to do to have your life work. Just make sure the person feels loved, accepted and appreciated in the process. When you resist someone, you create resistance against yourself, and it's uphill all the way. When you can accept and appreciate someone, you create an environment of cooperation and support. So let go of your demands for how the person should be and let the person be the way he or she is. Then do whatever you need to do.
Marci had a habit of not keeping her word, and Randy hated it. He did everything he could to get her to change this, but nothing worked. She kept breaking her promises and Randy kept getting upset.

Finally, he realized that Marci was the way that she was and would probably never keep her word. He didn't like this, but he realized that he couldn't change her.

Randy then had a choice. He could either continue getting upset, which by now was clearly damaging their relationship, or he could stop trying to change Marci and accept her the way that she was.

To accept her, he had to be willing for her never to keep her word with him. He had to let go of his expectations for how she should be and make peace with the way that she was.

He decided to meet with Marci and actually give her permission to never keep her word. He hated doing this, but he knew that this was something he had to do. Besides, Marci would do what she wanted whether Randy gave her permission or not.

So he gritted his teeth and gave her the permission. He said, "Marci, you don't ever have to keep your word with me again. I hope you do, but if you don't, I won't complain."

Randy then handled his affairs so that he didn't have to depend on Marci.

Within a few days, Randy noticed that he no longer got upset when Marci didn't keep her word. When she did keep her word, it was a pleasant surprise.

By Randy's letting go of his demands and expectations for how Marci should be, his upset went away and his relationship began to heal. Ironically, Marci started to keep her word.
Action to Take
  • Notice that the other person is exactly the way he or she is whether you like it or not. Notice how irrelevant your feelings are.

  • Notice how much you have fought and resisted the way that person is. Notice the conflict you have created by your resistance.

  • Let go of your demands for how that person should be and make peace with the way the person is. Give him or her full permission to be that way forever.

  • Remember that acceptance is nothing more than surrendering to the truth. You don't have to like the way the person is and you don't have to live with the person. You just need to make peace with the truth.

  • Give all the people in your life full permission to be the way they are. Work with this until you can.
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