If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t feel good, and you find yourself asking the question of ‘should I stay or should I go?’, this message will help you start navigating this unknown territory.
The quality of your romantic relationship plays a huge role in your life. So when it’s out-of-whack and you’re feeling unstable, it creates a lot of confusion and stress. In this state, it’s nearly impossible to figure out how to handle things, or what to say or do.
If your mind has frequent thoughts of ‘do I stay or go?’, quickly followed by answers of ‘yes…well maybe no’ to either option, this constant back-and-forth with no resolution becomes exhausting. Sound familiar?
This week’s message offers some empowering questions to ask yourself, which will help you gain the clarity you’re seeking and STOP the spin cycle of frustration.
Reclaiming Your Power
In last week’s message, I talked about how your relationship problems won’t go away until you learn what the conflict is trying to teach you. As frustrating as this sounds, it’s true. Here’s a little bit of what I shared at the end of that message:
“Whatever the conflict in your relationship is trying to teach you, the more willing you are to learn from it, the better off you will be. Rather than give your power away by blaming your partner for the problems, accept responsibility for your role in the relationship and how you’re choosing to handle the conflict.
This is how we grow. This is how we improve the quality of our lives and relationships. This is how we show up as the women we really want to be.”
So…are you ready to learn and grow even more? Are you ready to reclaim your power?
What’s Causing the Pain?
When you understand that the pain you’re feeling in your relationship is an effect, and you’re able to get to the root of its cause, you won’t have to be in so much pain. Instead of feeling powerless, you can feel powerful.
To understand this more, imagine someone stepping on your foot, and imagine that it hurts. The cause of your pain is someone stepping on your foot, and the effect is the physical sensation of pain.
Emotional pain is similar. However, the huge difference in this comparison is that emotions are internal, not external. In other words, someone can physically hurt you on the outside without your permission. However, no one can hurt your feelings unless you let them.
Of course, no one thinks that they ‘let’ someone hurt their feelings…it just happens, right? But if that were the case, why would one person’s feelings be hurt by certain words or actions, but a different person’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt by those same words or actions?
Why? Because our individual thoughts and feelings are based on our individualized and personal experiences.
For example, someone who grew up in a stable and loving home is more likely to feel secure with their sense of self-worth and emotions than someone who grew up in a highly dysfunctional home.
But even those who grew up in a dysfunctional or hostile environment can learn how to get in touch with their feelings and express them in a healthy way. And when you take ownership of your feelings, rather than blaming someone for ‘making’ you feel bad, you reclaim your power.
Nothing Will Change Until You Face It
Part of taking ownership of your feelings is to actually acknowledge and express them. I cannot emphasize enough how important your feelings are and how much influence they have on your quality of life.
When you’re feeling good about something – joyful, excited, clear – those feelings are letting you know that you’re on the right path…whatever it is that you’re doing feels right.
When you’re feeling bad about something – frustrated, depressed, resentful – those feelings are letting you know that something is off…a detour is needed and something needs to change.
When your feelings are not acknowledged and expressed (especially the ‘negative’ ones), they fester. Over time, they get worse and worse. What started out as a minor irritation can turn into frustration…can turn into anger…can turn into resentment.
We have feelings for a reason! The key to not letting them fester is to express them. And if you’re not quite sure how to do that (a lot of people aren’t), you have the ability and resources to learn.
Facing Your Feelings
If you want the quality of your life and relationships to improve, you must face what you’ve been avoiding…which most likely includes your feelings. Novelist James Baldwin sums it up nicely: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
Knowing that changes won’t happen until you face what needs to change might feel scary or it might feel liberating. Either way, acknowledge your feelings and accept where you are right now. If you want those feelings to change, be willing to gain a new perspective.
Empowering Questions to Ponder
As a relationship coach, I’ve been blessed with meeting and collaborating with a number of other coaches. When my dear friend, Tia Kelly, told me about one of the empowering questions she shares with her clients, I knew that I wanted to share it with my Healthy Path to Love community.
Below are a combination of questions I’d like you to ask yourself. To get the most effective results, I encourage you to create uninterrupted time and space to sit with these questions and answer them mindfully:
- Turn off your electronic gadgets
- Ask your kids and/or partner to give you some alone time
- Take some deep cleansing breaths
- Grab a piece of paper and a pen…
And let’s get started! When it comes to your romantic relationship and the question of should I stay or should I go?, when you think about the option of staying:
- How does that make you feel? (example: scared, excited, discouraged, hopeful)
- If you choose to stay, rather than go, what do you get to avoid doing, feeling or experiencing? (example: I get to avoid a divorce and justifying my choice to others. I get to avoid feeling that I somehow failed in this relationship. I get to avoid experiencing the fear of being alone.)
Now, on the flip-side, when it comes to your romantic relationship and the question of should I stay or should I go?, when you think about the option of going:
- How does that make you feel? (example: scared, relieved, sad, courageous)
- If you choose to go, rather than stay, what do you get to avoid doing, feeling or experiencing? (example: I get to avoid having some difficult conversations with my partner. I get to avoid being vulnerable and feeling uncomfortable with my feelings. I get to avoid wasting more time and energy on a relationship that’s not working.)
Clearly, the answers to these questions need to come from YOU. I provided examples for illustrative purposes only, so you fully understand the questions.
How This Helps You in Your Relationship
There is no right or wrong here. The purpose of this exercise is to start getting you in touch with your feelings. This doesn’t happen overnight and requires a consistent practice on your part. The payoff is worth it!
The more you get in touch with your feelings and honor them for what they’re trying to tell you, the easier it becomes to navigate the confusion of being in a relationship that’s not what you want it to be.
If you want to make up your mind about whether to stay or go, you must first get clear on what’s causing you to stay and/or what’s causing your desire to leave. As simple as that sounds, it’s not so easy to figure it all out…and this is a very important decision!
If you’re willing to get real with yourself and answer difficult questions, your answers will reveal a lot! And with those revelations, you will gain clarity about which direction you want to go in your relationship.
You’re Not Alone
The questions provided above are just a few…I have many more! One day at a time, one set of questions at a time, one step closer to clarity and peace of mind about your relationship.
Now…do you have any questions for me? I would love to hear from you, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. Simply reply to the email that led you to this blog, or use the contact form on my contact page.
I know how hard it is to be in a relationship that’s no longer working, and how painful and confusing that feels. I’m here to support you however I can…you’re not alone!
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. I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Chelli Pumphrey of Destination Love on VoiceAmerica talk radio show. We explore the various dynamics of relationships and what causes them to go from love and passion to pain and resentment. You can listen to it here.