Thank Your Partner for Something Surprising This Thanksgiving

Nov 24, 2021

Take a deep breath y’all. The holidays are coming. 

Thanksgiving is TOMORROW and, most likely, you barely have any time to think for yourself… much less manage your partner or family’s emotions. I mean, managing one’s own emotional health during the holidays is a big enough challenge, am I right?

Now, before I move forward, it’s important for me to remind you of something:

You are not responsible for anyone’s feelings or emotions... other than your own. 

This is so important to me that I’ll say it again:

You are only responsible for your own feelings. 

That is to say… you don’t “make” people feel any certain way. You act, react and go about your daily life naturally and sometimes the actions you take cause feelings in other people. That’s okay. Having feelings is healthy. FEELING these feelings is even healthier. 

As long as you operate with an open heart, honesty and good intentions, any hurt feelings you cause are unintentional and can be worked out in a healthy relationship. 

However, if someone lets you know that you’ve hurt their feelings, sets a boundary with you, and you react in a negative way, it might be a good idea to do a check in with yourself to see if you might be unintentionally doing something hurtful.

That’s how growth happens… making a mistake and learning from it.

Oftentimes in our society we feel that we should hide our mistakes and flaws from the world, because somehow those things make us “less than.”

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our flaws and mistakes are what make us human. Admitting to them makes us even more human, I think. 

Admitting to and owning your flaws takes a great deal of vulnerability and being vulnerable can be scary as heck. I’ve been on this journey for a long time and being vulnerable with someone new is still one of the scariest things I encounter. (Yes, even scarier than fish.)

But I’ve taken the time to learn ways to communicate my flaws and mistakes with those I love to help me feel less frightened of being vulnerable. 

And I gotta tell y’all, it really worked.

Now, when I make a mistake that hurts my partner, like reacting out of anger when I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to hear whatever they say to me, I don’t waste my time beating myself up over it. I hold space for the situation and think about what might have caused my outburst.

Then, I talk to my partner about it. I don’t just brush it under the rug and ignore it because I’m embarrassed.  Frankly, I’ve found out the hard way that ignoring it is a great way to make sure the embarrassment lingers longer and that sucks worse than just facing up to things right away. 

So, as hard as it is, I’m pretty direct these days. I tell them I’m sorry for the action I took that hurt them. I explain where I was coming from and what caused me to act in that way. Then I listen to them.

Then… I thank them.

Yup. I THANK THEM for setting a boundary with me.

Do you know why I do this?

Well, it’s because of the reason my partner set the boundary in the first place: because they love me and want to continue to be in a relationship with me.

I mean, if they didn’t care, they would just ignore whatever you did to hurt them and just mentally write you off… not even giving you a chance to mend or repair the relationship.

So keep that in mind next time someone sets a boundary with you. They’re doing it because they love you and want to keep you in their life.

And in my book, that’s something to be thankful for.