How do you know if your relationship’s worth saving?
A few of my buddies are struggling with their partner. Their long term relationship feels more like a sentence. All they see when they look at their partner is the things that annoy the F@!* out of them.
Take my good friend, Sally. Fed up with her relationship, she’s decided to take the kids and move out.
We got chatting the other day and she couldn’t stop banging on about all the things that drive her nuts about her partner, Bob.
Understanding the problem
I heard her out. As she talked I knew there was one key thing she was failing to see.
Sally, I hear what you say, but stop for a minute. I want to do an exercise with you.
What? Oh. Okay.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
Write a list of all the things that piss you off about Bob. Write them as statements, like this:
“Bob is aggressive.”
“Bob is manipulative.”
“Bob is lazy.”
“Bob is controlling.”
“Bob doesn’t listen.”
What ever is true for you, write it down. Go as deep as you possibly can. Get it all out on the table.
I waited patiently until she finished. It was a long list.
Finding common ground
Great, now here’s what I want you to do next. Cross out the word “Bob”, and replace it with your name.
Just trust me.
After Sally finished I asked her to sit with the list for a moment.
What do you notice about the statements you wrote down after swapping the names?
I don’t like this.
Haha. It’s okay. Listen, the truth is we condemn in others what we haven’t yet learned to love in ourselves.
Do you think some of the statements you wrote down are true?
Do you recognise an aspect of yourself in the statements you wrote?
My God. You’re right.
Life is a mirror
On a subconscious level, we choose a partner that can help us evolve and love all the parts of ourselves. Our partner shows us who we are, warts and all. Your higher self has called in this exact person and experience to help you learn to love your darkness, as well as your light.
The lessons come disguised as disagreements, value judgements, emotional triggers, and resentment.
Leaving Bob won’t rid you of having to deal with aggressiveness, laziness, being controlled or manipulated. You’ll be taking those things with you into the next relationship and the next.
So what do I do?
The only way out is through, I’m afraid. You have to go inward and learn to love ALL OF YOU. See all the parts of you you’ve been hiding in the shadows and bring them to the light. You have to own them.
Most importantly, you have to be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself as if to a child, with gentleness, love, compassion and understanding.
When you accept and love all the parts of you, you can then accept and love those same parts when they’re reflected in someone else.
That’s true, unconditional love.
If you’re struggling in your relationship, here’s a TIP!
Write down everything about your partner that drives you nuts.
Write each point as a statement, using your partner’s name.
Go as deep as you can to really get clear on what’s triggering you.
Then, swap out your partners name for your own.
See if you resonate with any of the statements. Do you recognise yourself in any of them?
Taking full responsibility for the sum of your experience isn’t easy. It requires internal work.
The road inward can feel scary and be utterly painful. But if you find the courage to do it, the depth of love you’ll feel for yourself will make you want to blissfully explode! When you deeply love yourself, your capacity to love those around you will know no end.
After doing the internal work and coming to a deeper sense of self acceptance, you may still decide to end your relationship, and that’s okay because you’ll have a clearer, more conscious perspective. You can take responsibility for the part you played, without blame, and be grateful for lessons you learned.
Live your life inspired.