Don’t Take it Personally

Don’t take things personally. One of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to cultivate grace. When you know someone really well, you know their strengths as well as their weaknesses. And sometimes that knowledge will hurt. Try not to take it personally when your partner doesn’t think like you do, or want what you want. The job of building a life together means figuring out how both of you can help each other grow, and how you can create a vision for your life together.

Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Let them make mistakes and give them some room to rephrase something if their words initially come across too harshly. Don’t hold your partner to every word they ever spoke. Life moves forward—give yourselves room to state and restate until you both understand each other. Of course, if your partner is routinely critical, contemptuous, blaming, and just plain mean, you have to consider whether you are in a relationship that can support trust and growth. If your partner routinely discounts your feelings and doesn’t care about your emotional wellbeing this is a problem that grace and flexibility won’t fix. In this case, it is necessary to know your limits and hold to them. Even so, try not to take this type of behavior personally either. A person who is routinely critical, blaming, and hurtful is telling you more about their own limitations that about yours.

When you are with someone for a long time, you will have an ongoing, unfolding conversation. And, you will each change and grow. Sometimes you will pull in different directions. Sometimes you will step on each others’ toes. Don’t take it personally. Let the conversation be fluid enough to acknowledge your differences, incorporate your changes, and keep searching for connections and common ground.