The Requirements for Acceptance
Acceptance of the other means letting them do their own thing (pardon my 60’s).
If we see them as less skilled or capable than us, the temptation is to chide them or correct them, but these are parental responses. Even offering help can be an implied criticism of their capabilities. Furthermore, our perception of their incompetence may be misplaced; perhaps they just like doing it that way, or maybe they actually know better than us.
All of these reactions are attempts at control, or in Buddhist terms, we are attached to a particular outcome. It may be something totally unacceptable, like killing kittens; more likely, it’s something less freighted, like having opposite political opinions, or maybe one person wants to travel round the world while the other wants to remain and study. This is when you need to examine whether you and your partner have shared and mutually acceptable goals.
To do that requires knowing what your own goals are, and in the clamor of advertising, family expectations, social norms, it is hard to filter out those voices and find your own. The ancient maxim “Know Thyself” applies here. Make time away from the distractions of the world. Run, hike, see a therapist, meditate, or whatever it takes for those voices to dissipate and for your true self to show through.
It is when your partner’s behavior is not in contradiction with your beliefs and life goals that you need to practice acceptance. Is it your life’s goal to live in a world where the toilet seat is always down, or do you have loftier ideals?