Even the best relationships experience moments of pain. Whether you’re with Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, pain is often inevitable.
Now, not all pain is equal, so sometimes the pain is momentary and easy to get over while other times, the pain feels like too much to bear, and it lingers.
But regardless of the kind of relationship you are in, I have found one thing to be true: Most of the pain you experience in relationships is a result of expecting your mate to be someone other than who he truly is. We set our expectations, and even when someone shows us time and time again that he can’t meet those expectations, we continue to hold them, only to end up hurt.
And this, my friends, is what leads to all the pain.
You can’t change who someone is, no matter how much you love that person. People only change if they want to change. And even if you think you have the most compelling reason to inspire change in another human being, it doesn’t work unless that person truly wishes to change.
Now, the decision to accept who someone is and the role that person plays in your life is always your choice. Don’t ever relinquish that power. But when you choose to have someone in your life, you have to be able to make peace with who that person is based on his actions. The more your resist that reality, the more pain you will experience.
Most of us have heard the quote from Dr. Maya Angelou that says:
When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
There is so much truth to that sentiment. People are usually pretty clear with us about who they are—sometimes through their words but mainly through their actions. Our job is to believe that truth or reject it. But when we reject the unpleasant parts of a person because it’s more convenient to do so, we have to know that pain will come with that decision. We have to realize that our expectations won’t be met and disappointment will surely follow.
If the man (or woman) in your life shows you that he is abusive, unreliable, selfish or any other character trait you don’t care for, you have to believe that’s who he is. Don’t invest time and energy into a relationship mainly based on hope. Being hopeful is a wonderful thing, but when we continue to be hopeful in the face of facts that tell us otherwise, we are creating pain in our lives.
So as easy as it is to believe the good, believe the bad about your mate as well. Based on how bad the bad stuff is, make a decision about whether or not you can accept it and still remain happily involved. You need to leave if the bad bothers you so deeply that staying would only result in a future of pain because you would spend so much time hoping and expecting for the bad to change when it likely never will.
Sure, we all experience pain in life that we have no control over. But sadly, so much of us experience preventable pain. We place ourselves in positions that leave us feeling crushed time and time again even though walking away is an option that’s available to us.
If we can all choose to believe who people show us they are, we would all experience a lot less pain.
BMWK family, what do you think is at the root of most of your relationship pain?