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Honoring Your Preferences

Updated: Jan 23

What are your preferences? Are you conscious of what it is you like and don’t like? Do you honor those preferences?

Honoring our preferences is important. It’s how we show that we care about ourselves. Constantly sacrificing our own desires in order to please others typically ends up pleasing no one. It might work in the short term and this is what solidifies the strategy in our minds. But in the long term, resentment builds in the person making the “sacrifice” that nobody asked for and the other person in the relationship doesn’t even know how to treat their partner since their preferences and desires have been buried. I’m not implying that we should always insist on having things our own way. Relationships are largely about compromise. The people who are close to us should know our preferences and how important those preferences are to us. Some things will be minor, like a proclivity for Mexican food, while other things can be deal breakers. This communication sets the stage for compromise and helps us to determine compatibility in a relationship. This isn’t to say that we can’t have a deep and rewarding relationship with people who have very different preferences. It’s all about communication and negotiation. Finding a way to honor ourselves and our preferences while allowing others to do the same isn’t an easy task, but it will result in more rewarding relationships.

Keep in mind that your personal preferences are not someone else’s flaws. You may prefer to do things or have things a certain way, and you may prefer those you have relationships with do things in a certain way. That’s fine. You deserve to have that, but so do other people, and their preferences probably won’t match yours. Your preferences belong to you. You can take input from others about your preferences, but nobody should be judging them. On the flip side of that coin, you should not judge the preferences of others. Obviously, one person’s personal preferences should not violate the rights or property of another person. That is the standard we have agreed upon as a society. Also, this crosses the line between preferences and boundaries.

Try this for one week. When someone asks for your preference about something, do not say “I don’t care” or defer to someone else. Whether it’s dinner plans, what to watch on tv, or where to go on vacation, actually think about and say your preference out loud. People tend to have more respect for those that respect themselves enough to state their preferences. Notice when your preferences are in contradiction. You may prefer to eat that donut instead of the banana in the morning, but you also prefer to be a healthier person in the long run. This is where we find out which preferences are actually important to us and which ones we have been allowing to run unchecked.

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