I enjoy writing this blog. Well, most weeks. I love to think about things that happen in therapy and in life. I love to draw connections between them. I love to see how perspectives on a situation change if you are in the situation versus watching it from afar. And as I think about all of those things I usually get lots of ideas to blog about. But not always. This was one of those weeks. I have sat down to write several times and ended up with nothing. Knowing that I needed to get something done soon, I started looking through websites with inspirational quotes, hoping something would spur an idea. And then I found this –
“One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.” – Unknown
I thought, “well, that certainly seems like a direct message to me! And I know that it is true. Success in all things…financially, romantically, career-wise, frankly all of life…requires sometimes doing things we don’t want to do. Like writing this post when it seems like work instead of flowing easily.
I spend a lot of time working on variations of this message with clients in therapy. There are many people that want to take the position that they shouldn’t have to do something if they don’t want to do it. And actually that is true, they don’t. The only problem is that many people want the outcome to be as if they actually did the things they didn’t want to do without having to actually do them. I mean, it would be great if a blog post had appeared this morning without me having to have actually written one. But it wasn’t going to and it would be crazy of me to be upset if it hadn’t.
Life is just like that. We can’t expect to accomplish things without taking the steps to accomplish them. That’s particularly true in relationships, be it family, friends, business or romantic. If we want certain outcomes we sometimes have to do things we don’t really want to do. Because it achieves something we do want. If we want another person to be happy to be in relationship with us then we sometimes do things for them. But then that ends up being for us in the long run…it may just take effort in the short term.
Now, that doesn’t mean we should lose our sense of self. We do need to pay attention to our own needs. There are times we need to make choices that work for us and not someone else. But it is about balance. Relationships are an investment. It is about choosing to invest our time, our energy and our focus in a way that creates connections. It is great when those efforts feed both ourselves and the relationship, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, we don’t want it to be the case. If there was a complete overlap between us and the relationship they would cease being two different things.
So the desire to have healthy, rewarding, fulfilling relationships means we sometimes must do things that are good for the relationship and/or the other person. Or, we have to accept that the relationship may not be that important. That we’ll take what we can get but if the other person decides it isn’t working for them we have to accept that we didn’t make the investment. But if you do value your relationship and the person or people in it, then make the investment to show it. In those times where you know what should be done but don’t really want to, do it anyway. The benefits will be worth it.