by Megan Sy, M.S.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about unconditional self-acceptance (USA) and unconditional life acceptance (ULA). With Valentine’s Day approaching, I felt it was appropriate to round out this discussion with unconditional other acceptance (UOA).
UOA involves acknowledging a person’s characteristics, traits, and behaviors without judgment or global ratings of worth. One can acknowledge that their partner may be terribly unromantic without viewing the partner as a terrible person. Further, one can choose to think rationally and not demand that their partner must change (e.g., “It would be nice if my partner was romantic, but there is no reason why they must be.”).
When we label and rate other people, it becomes much easier to resent them or become unhealthily angry. Conversely, UOA allows us to feel disappointment or sadness, rather than anger or depression. Much like USA, the hope is that we fully accept others despite our failings and challenges. So for those celebrating Valentine’s Day, it’s a great way to enjoy those we love while also practicing UOA. For those commemorating Singles Awareness Day, it’s a wonderful opportunity to appreciate our individuality and practice USA and ULA.