There is something so powerful about taking the time to acknowledge those who show up for us.
It’s so easy to take those moments for granted.
It’s so easy to feel entitled that our intimate partner or those close to us should just “be there” for us.
And while it feels important to have that sense of security .. it’s also equality important that we honor their efforts.
One of the ways we can do this is by acknowledging our partner even if they don’t “hit the target” perfectly.
We may have asked our partner to stay in the room and stretch their capacity for conflict.
If we don’t take the time to see and praise the small changes and efforts they make, they will likely lose motivation to continue trying.
We may have asked our partner to adjust the particular way they comfort us when we expose our pain.
If we don’t notice them leaning into their own discomfort to learn a new skill, then we are not being an encouraging partner.
The Gottman Institute’s research shows that those who are “masters” in relationships are those who are constantly searching for positive things to acknowledge about their partner.
They are conscious of balancing out criticism and difficult feedback with healthy doses of praise.
We can infuse even the most difficult moments with appreciation.
Expressing appreciation (out loud) might be a skill we ourselves have to learn and practice .. especially if we are quick to point out faults and mistakes.
Believe me, I have to be vigilant about this as my natural set point is towards blame and criticism.
I have spent a lot of time observing my own behavior around this and can now more quickly sense when there is an imbalance.
I invite you to take this on as a practice this week.
When you notice your partner making (any) kind of effort to be with your struggle, notice it.
Allow yourself to see it.
Tell them what it means to you to have their presence.
Tell them even if it makes you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
Because it likely will.
And that discomfort is not a bad thing.
It is a beautiful edge to lean into and expand from.
And it is so much of where relational magic happens.