Going through a tough period with your mate? Maybe this is supposed to happen.
Could you have “good” without evil? Left without right? Up without down?
How about can you have a happy, fulfilled relationship without a power struggle or challenges? (No!)
The value of life is not determined by your job or your financial worth or who your mate looks like "on paper", but by the memories, lessons in love and growth as a person. Somewhere in our existence, we’ve lost sight of this…perhaps because it’s easier to turn away rather than grow and face the true challenges of life.
I am a big fan of people making more money (my latest free ebook is titled “You Can Make As Much Money As You Want, Doing What You Love”). However, while I enjoy making money, I don’t confuse having money with causing happiness or preventing sadness. Lots of millionaires and billionaires are miserable.
Likewise, just having a partner doesn't automatically cause happiness or prevent sadness. Happiness and growth takes work.
If you're in a struggle with your partner now, what if this is the opportunity you have been unknowingly waiting for for both of you to work out new levels of issues and healing, to clear the way for a healthier, happier relationship?
You have the chance to grow the most from your challenges and failures, and feeling sadness creates the opening to feel more gratitude on the other side. Your sadness (or frustration, anxiety, stress…) helps create more contrast in your feelings and thus a higher potential for more happiness.
Do you move from tough job to tough job or dramatic relationship to dramatic relationship, but none are good enough, as if you can’t win?
Perhaps the common theme is you! Are you really learning and practicing the lessons of what works and doesn’t for you, or are you repeating the same mistakes? You for sure are the only thing not changing through all these stressful jobs and relationships. How much of your unhappiness are you ready to take responsibility for?
Recently I decided to postpone the opening of one of my coaching programs indefinitely while I got my life in order in important ways. I am still learning a lot about myself - including how I sabotage myself and my happiness in love relationships. It’s easy to blame others, including your partner, for what YOU don’t like.
What is your biggest frustration or anxiety in life right now? What role did you play in creating or allowing it?
It’s not easy to take 100% responsibility for the parts of your life that don’t feel good, but it’s worse to live lying to yourself and blaming other people for your own frustrations. It can be very scary to look in the mirror and ask yourself “How did I allow this to happen, what was my role?” Of course you want to “be right” and blame other people or the world or the weather or…but wouldn’t you rather be happy?
Try this exercise:
1) What are your challenges?
List out 3-5+ things about your partner or relationship that are problematic. For example, "when he returns from a trip, he wants to see his friends before me".
2) Why does it matter?
Around each, write a little bit about why it is a problem to you, why it makes you unhappy. Example: "when he wants to see his friends before me, it makes me feel like I'm not important to him or valued by him."
3) How did you create or allow this?
In every case, you played an equal role in creating or allowing it (it takes two to tango). What are some ways you did this...be honest! Example: "I haven't told him clearly - in direct words that he can understand - why this hurts my feelings," or "I don't stand up for myself in my value, including setting healthy boundaries, so I let him devalue me."
4) What can you do about it?
You can't control another person, only yourself. So now what can YOU do? "I can be blunt in what I need...", "I can be more patient and forgiving...", "I can set new boundaries...", "I can see a counselor or coach...", "I can devote time to my own passions and health...", "I can work on my self-confidence..."
Face your challenges and yourself – do not run from them. Conquer them now so they don’t follow you. Doing so will help you find the silver lining/treasure in them and will help to power your happiness and love and work.
You can look at your challenges as opportunities to see what negative habits and patterns are inside you, and thus get a chance to work through them and past them, to the prize (love, money, peace of mind, etc.) beyond…
Embrace the sadness and move through it, knowing happiness is on the other side if you learn the lessons in front of you...in other words, embrace the shit!
Aaron "Air" Ross