It’s taken me years to understand this: you must accept people where they are, not where you might want them to be. It’s human nature to think that other people should be thinking as we do, because after all, what we do seems to work for us. But the reality is that we are all on our own quests, and we are all individual in what our particular quest is.
When I was a lot younger, I just couldn’t understand why people didn’t function as I did. It embarrasses me greatly to think about that now; I was so young and so sure that I knew it all. Well, surprise, surprise: none of us knows it all, especially young smarty-pants me. Live and learn.
For example, the Crankee Yankee and I have known each other since we were in our 20s. He married his first wife, and I married my first husband. Neither marriage worked out and eventually we got together and married. It’s been over 17 years so far, and has been so good.
Of course, we both bear scars from our first marriages. Even though we know that we love and care for each other, there is still a part of us that sometimes wonders if our marriage could ever fall apart. We certainly hope not; however, the mind sometimes does funny things to us.
Case in point: the Crankee Yankee’s first wife was hard to please, especially regarding gifts. It seemed that whatever he gave her for birthdays or Christmas either were not what she really wanted, or it wasn’t the right thing; something was always not right. In time, he gave up trying to please her.
So each birthday, anniversary or Christmas, he gives me a generous gift card for T.J. Maxx, my favorite place to shop. Generally I always pick out jewelry first. That’s a lot of fun and I love it, but there are times when I would love for him to pick out something for me. I’ve given him my ring sizes, my bracelet and necklace sizes, hoping that he would some day surprise me.
But emotional scars last and, even though we know that we are the loves of our lives, some experiences stay with us. After 17 years of marriage, I understand how the Crankee Yankee works. He wants me to have exactly what I want, and the gift card gives me that freedom. This is part of accepting a person where they are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. People have many ways of showing love.
Once we come to terms with the people in our lives, we can love them unconditionally. The inconsequential stuff is not what matters; what does matter is that we honor the person and love them where they are. Or, as one of my uncles used to say, “look at the doughnut, not the doughnut hole.”