Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Ever heard the expression?
If so, then you may understand like my client Mauricio did, that in relationship, the saying applies doubly so.
Mauricio would get into an argument with his wife and then for hours afterward, he would beat himself up.
He’d spiral into fear about how his wife would deprive him of intimacy and how he’d be in the doghouse with her for the next month.
Do you fear being in the doghouse with your wife after a fight?
Maybe you berate yourself, like Mauricio did, saying to yourself, “I should’ve done this, or I could’ve said that.”
It’s hard enough to deal with conflict in your relationship. But even worse if you top it off with a mountain of self-blame.
A lot of guys are tough on themselves these days when it comes to their relationship.
They want to be a good guy, a better man than their father was to their mom. They want to be able to meet the emotional needs of their woman.
There’s a lot of pressure on us guys to show up in relationship that was never expected of us prior to now – emotionally, psychologically, and mentally.
Mauricio felt it big time. And as a result, he created a lot of suffering for himself.
Do you feel able to meet your wife’s emotional needs?
Let’s face it, we men are on a massive evolution curve because most of us were raised by fathers who did not have to meet such high standards in relationship.
With pressure to be more for her, for most men, comes more suffering.
“I can’t ever be enough for her,” Mauricio said to me.
Nodding, I said, “I get it. But more importantly, can you be enough for you?”
He looked at me, mystified that I could invite him to be so selfish.
“You’ll never be enough for her,” I said. “Especially when you’re not enough for yourself.”
“Huh,” he said. That was his way of saying, I didn’t know that was possible, and I like where you’re going, Stuart.
How would you feel if it wasn’t your job to meet your wife’s standards of who you are?
I’ll tell you how you’d feel. You’d feel liberated. You’d feel free of her emotional burdens.
And ironically that would put you, as it did for Mauricio, in a position to be a better relational partner.
Imagine a you with more emotional capacity, fewer burdens of hers to carry, and more confidence to be clear about what’s yours emotionally and what’s hers.
For Mauricio, these were key to his reducing the self-imposed suffering that he’d been cycling in for years.
A form of self-judgment that told him he was a bad man who failed his wife.
“I don’t have to be everything for her and nothing for myself,” Mauricio said with a smile on his face.
What if you could stop betraying yourself for your wife?
When a man beats himself up for what he didn’t do right in an interaction with his partner, he betrays himself. He creates a lot of suffering that he could avoid.
Once he realizes this, he can diminish the pain of sadness or anger that is often inevitable in conflict with his partner.
Do you want to reduce pain and eliminate suffering in your relationship?
If so, there’s an important distinction that will help you reduce the pain and eliminate the suffering you experience in your relationship.
That distinction starts with knowing the difference between pain, which is just a part of life, and suffering, which is self-inflicted and comes from not knowing better.
Check out two key tips that helped Mauricio get out of the doghouse to save his marriage in the video below.
Do you self-inflict suffering in your marriage?
Let’s put an end to that. You don’t need to exacerbate already difficult situations.
Imagine if you could navigate challenges with your wife or partner, sit in the fire of a hard interaction, and come out with calm, coolness, confidence, and yes, even more trust.
You can do right by her without beating yourself up about what you did wrong. Self-assessment doesn’t need to be self-crucifixion.
Get on track to becoming a powerful relational partner, to meet your needs and your partner’s.
Are you ready to reduce pain and eliminate suffering in your relationship?
Previously Published on stuartmotola.com and is republished on Medium.
Photo credit: iStock