State, national lifestyle columnists

Acknowledge your mistakes to your partner

By From page A2 | November 27, 2012

How does it make you feel if the one you love leaves for the day without saying goodbye? What if you’ve had a misunderstanding and your partner refuses to apologize even though you both agree that he or she was in the wrong? Acknowledging our mistakes to each other is a positive behavior that we all need to foster in our relationships.

Acknowledgment takes many forms: hellos and goodbyes, saying “I love you” or “I’m sorry” are just a few of the very important ways we honor the one we love. If you can’t apologize or admit your love, your mate will feel destabilized and your relationship will not be as close as you would like it to be.

There are other small but still very meaningful acknowledgments, such as “Thank you” or “Atta boy.” Saying “Well done” will enhance your dynamic as a couple by helping you both open your hearts and minds to each other. It will also empower you to take on the rest of the world together.

Receiving acknowledgment builds your self-esteem, and not getting it from your partner can have the opposite effect. Going through life or being in a relationship and wondering if you are good enough can be very uncomfortable. If you haven’t ever been in that place, consider yourself lucky. Those of us who have been there understand the importance of giving our time and attention in ways that will make our loved ones feel better about themselves.

When both of you feel good about who you are and the person you are with, the dynamic of your relationship is going to be more positive. No question. That wonderful feeling can come from simple acknowledgement.

One of the ways you can acknowledge each other is by making sure to take a little time to greet the other person when you first see each other at the end of the day. I suggest giving your mate a 10-second hug and kiss to really acknowledge your connection. Your partner will feel it, and that emotional high will return to you instantly. The bond you will feel is very real. It’s one of the things that make life worth living.

It is also healthy for you to acknowledge your partner when he or she does something nice for you. You’d be surprised at how good a simple “Thank you” can make a person feel. It will also inspire him or her to continue doing things that merit that kind of response. Proper acknowledgement makes you want to do things that let your partner know how much you care.

Once this becomes a regular thing, you will have fewer arguments, more will get accomplished and you’ll feel warmer toward each other. The payoff for developing this little behavior is huge and shouldn’t be ignored.

A lack of acknowledgement can breed contempt and make your partner wonder if he or she is in the right place. Be proactive and let the one you love feel your appreciation.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, is the author, most recently, of “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence – Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too.” Email him at [email protected]

Barton Goldsmith


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