sometimes i get stuck believing that i’m the only one in the relationship doing things right…if only he would do as i do, things would be so much better…if only he put as much into the relationship as i do, we could be happy…if only he could be as responsible as i, things would be equal and then i wouldn’t feel so much resentment…if only he respected me, i wouldn’t feel like a doormat…i get stuck in the land of “if’s”. the problem with staying in the land of “if’s” is that it’s all things that are on the outside of me, things that are out of my control….because when it’s something i want to change about someone else, i will always feel conflicted, discontent, resentful, or empty. the reality is that we are in a land of “it is what it is”, not “if only’s” and it is not me alone on this land.
when i focus on what i’m bringing to the relationship, not what he’s not bringing, if i believe that he is as committed to the relationship just as i am – his way of contributing to the relationship is simply different, i begin to change. i begin to notice the positive things he brings to the relationship, instead of things he fails to bring, i begin to experience a deep sense of gratitude. i begin to notice the little things, appreciate them, and my perspective begins to shift.
my head wants to compare and count the many ways i contribute, and the few ways he does. if i stay living through the heart, it’s not about comparing, it’s about relating. i ask myself what can i change about my actions and perspective that will improve the way i relate and connect. how can i better understand where he is coming from? it’s about noticing the things that he does that may be a form of communicating love; it may be very different from mine, but the result is a feeling of goodness, kindness and ultimately love.
it’s not about me telling him what he should be doing because i want him to change to be more like me. in the end, when he is valued for what he does bring, when he is no longer being compared to me, when he sees his value based on his love being fulfilled, recognized and appreciated, instead of based on my approval, he finds inspiration to improve and a desire to be more effective in his expression of his love.