You might be at a point in your relationship where you’re thinking about calling it quits. Or maybe you’re feeling frustrated with how it’s going, but you really want to make it work. Either way, for effective and lasting changes, you need clarity.
Without clarity about whether to stay or go, you don’t know what to do or how to handle it. When you don’t know what to do, confusion and frustration become the norm. And when you’re lost in the spin cycle of frustration, you might find yourself feeling discouraged and hopeless.
Under these circumstances, these feelings are normal, so be gentle with yourself. And know that all this pain and suffering is a catalyst for growth. Believe it or not, you are growing through this painful experience.
How quickly and gracefully you move through these growing pains is up to you.
There are Consequences to Your Choices
If you’re a mother (or even if you aren’t), you’ll understand what I mean when I use the example of you telling your kids, “there are consequences to your choices”. I hear my sister saying this to her kids, and it always reminds me that this is true for adults as well.
When teaching this lesson to kids, we’re attempting to help them learn that for every choice they make, there is a consequence. And sometimes, they’re making it way harder on themselves than they need to.
This lesson is a lifelong lesson. It doesn’t stop when we become adults. On the contrary…it actually becomes more significant when we’re adults because we no longer have the same level of guidance and support from our parents. We are on our own.
The Consequences of a Committed Relationship
When you choose to be in a committed relationship with your partner, you are choosing to share your life with this person. And that has consequences…sometimes good, and sometimes not so good.
When you and/or your partner ignore conflict, disregard your feelings or treat each other with disrespect, the results of these choices suck! Chances are, your relationship feels unstable and ugly.
On the other hand, when you’re treating each other well, being honest about your feelings and working through your differences in a respectful manner, the results of these choices are rewarding! Chances are, your relationship feels loving and harmonious.
I’ve been in both types of relationships, and the experience of the first example (the one that sucked) helped me learn the ‘consequences lesson’ at a whole new level than what I had learned as a child.
That relationship was unhealthy, unfulfilling and the opposite of what I wanted in so many ways. But even though it was ugly, I kept choosing to stay in it…for thirteen years.
Knowing what I know now, but didn’t know back then, I can see that that relationship was a huge catalyst for growth. And even though it sucked, and I went through years of pain and stress, I’m grateful for that experience.
Without that experience, I wouldn’t have learned what I learned about myself, about relationships, about how to deal with conflict, etc.
The results of me choosing to learn and grow from that experience led me to the second example I shared (the rewarding relationship). And that relationship helped me see just how beautiful a loving relationship can be.
How to Apply This to Your Relationship (exercise included)
So, now I want you to apply these concepts to your relationship. Here are a few questions I’d like you to ask yourself…AND answer:
- How does your relationship feel to you in its current ‘condition’?
- Is the quality of your relationship as good as you’d like it to be?
- If it isn’t, why not? What’s stopping it from being good?
- What are you feeling confused about in your relationship?
- What’s stopping you from changing the conditions that are causing confusion and creating stress?
Yes, these are deep questions…they’re not meant to be simple. They’re meant to stir the part of you that’s tired of feeling stuck in an unfulfilling relationship…that wants to move through these challenges and grow from this experience.
This starts with a willingness to face the issues that are all too easy to avoid. They’re easy to avoid because they’re not easy to address. But there are consequences to your choices.
You can go through life acting as if you have no choice and you’re a victim of your circumstances. The result of this choice is that you give your power away by blaming others, and you don’t get to live the amazing life you were born to live.
Or…you can grow through life knowing that you always have a choice and you have the ability and the strength to be in the driver’s seat. The result of this choice is that you claim your power and use it to live your best life.
Wherever You Are, Start There
Wherever you are in your relationship, if it’s not where you want it to be, remember that today is a new day. And right now is a new moment. With every new day and every new moment, there is a chance for something different.
If you don’t know where to begin, start by simply acknowledging where you are and where you want to be. Be true to your feelings. And give yourself compassion for the pain and sorrow that comes with a troubled relationship.
When you choose to be true to yourself, when you love yourself for who you are (even when you’re not at your best), and when you’re willing to change and grow, your life will only get better. And if you have kids, your example of being true to yourself will teach them how to be true to themselves…it’s what every parent wants, right?
Use your pain as an opportunity to grow. And use the growth as fuel for propelling yourself into a new chapter in your life.
We’ll talk about this more in next week’s mindful message. Until then, remember the ‘consequences lesson’ as often as you possibly can.
For every thought you think, ask yourself if it’s supporting your overall goal for your quality of life. For every feeling you have, ask yourself if you’re honoring it or casting it aside because you don’t know how to deal with it.
For every choice you make, no matter how big or small, ask yourself what the consequences are…and then adjust if needed.
And finally, during a break, I found the perfect quote to share in this message (I love how that happens!). Brandilyn Tebo (brandilyn_tebo on Instagram) said: “Waiting for circumstances to get so bad that you feel justified in leaving something that no longer serves you is like “accidentally” letting the brussel sprouts burn so you can justify ordering a pizza. Stop letting circumstances choose for you.”
YOU get to choose how to live your life. Not your circumstances, not your partner, not your friends, not your family, not society….YOU. And when you have a healthy relationship with YOU, you will have a life that you love!
Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach
P.S. If you’re interested in learning about my coaching services and how they can help you in your relationship, feel free to contact me.