Imagine you and your partner have been disconnected for a while now. You finally came to a place of understanding of what you need to do to make your relationship better. So, for the past week you’ve been focusing on being more attentive, listening to her when she talks to you, doing your best to understand her point of view and remembering to call her once a day so that she feels you really do think of her sometimes. Maybe you’re even starting to initiate conversations and date nights. You feel good about the renewed effort you’re putting into making your relationship better. So tonight, when you come home after a long day of work, you’re looking forward to some quiet time and hopefully your partner’s appreciation for everything you’ve been doing better this week. However, before you can even get your coat off, your partner tells you she’s feeling frustrated with and hurt by you because you didn’t do the one thing she’s been reminding you all week to follow up on.
And now just because she’s expressing her upset feelings, you wonder what was the point of doing all those positive behaviors over the past week. At this moment it feels to you that none of them had any impact on her and no matter how much you do, it will never be good enough for your partner. There’s always going to be something else that you didn’t do right and that’s going to negate everything good that you’ve been doing. This is the story you tell yourself. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Your self-worth is never defined by someone else’s behavior, loving or unloving. You get to choose what to base your worth on. And it’s never a good idea to base it on someone else or something externally. You might want to consider defining your own worth internally like on how good a heart you have.
When you shut down and judge yourself, you slam the door on your relationship. Being open to learning why your partner is being triggered allows you to move into compassion for your partner. When you truly want to learn if there’s any truth in what she’s saying then you move into compassion for yourself. When you open to learning you open up the door on your relationship creating the opportunity to communicate in a more loving way so that the two of you can resolve the issue.
When you’re not triggered by your partner’s behavior, you’ll know when she’s taking personal responsibility for her feelings and when she is blaming her feelings on you. If she’s taking personal responsibility, then she’s sharing her feelings in order to learn from them. She’s wanting to learn what she’s telling herself, doing or allowing that making her feel frustrated and hurt. She wants to make sure she’s telling herself the truth rather than misinterpreting the situation. Then she’ll identify and take the loving actions that make her feel higher self-worth and strengthen your relationship.
If your partner is in her wounded self and tells you that all the progress you’ve made doesn’t mean anything, then she’s giving you valuable information that she’s closed. If your partner is sharing her feelings to either punish you or try to control you then she is also letting you know that she is closed. And when your partner is closed to learning the only healthy choice you can make is to disengage with love until she’s open to learning about her behavior and the circumstances of what happened. And you let her know that you are willing to come back when she is willing to take personal responsibility for her behavior and is open to learning about the good reasons for your behavior.
And whether you stay because your partner is open to learning or you walk away because your partner is closed, you’re still good enough. You have been and will always be good enough even if you don’t do things perfectly. And when you know you’re good enough then you give your partner the opportunity to also learn that she’s good enough too. And when that happens, your relationship will be good enough too.