Do you worry much?
One of the things I see a lot in my coaching practice is worry about relationship decisions and relationship mistakes from the past.
Many of the women I talk to worry they’ve made the wrong choices. Stayed in the wrong relationship too long. Let go of the wrong guy. Put off looking for Mr. Right until it was too late.
They’re worried they’re going to pay a steep price for what they’ve done. They don’t know if they’ll ever get the love they desire, and it’s all because of what happened in the past. If only they could go back and do it all over again!
No doubt about it, making mistakes hurts.
But if that’s all you focus on—the pain of past mistakes—your beliefs become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Life becomes harder. Your past sabotages you at every turn.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could wave a magic wand and make all your past mistakes go away?
You don’t need a magic wand. You have all the power you need, right inside your own mind.
I’m going to show you how every mistake you’ve ever made in love can actually boost you towards greater relationship success. All it takes is a simple switch in perspective…
Your mistakes do not make you a failure.
They’re your badge of experience, and here’s why.
1. People who learn from their mistakes do better than people who beat themselves up over them.
It’s a myth that there’s anyone out there who never makes stupid mistakes.
Even women in dream marriages will tell you quite frankly that they’ve made more than their fair share of mistakes. It was a long road to get to where they are now. They know just how lucky they are.
But luck didn’t have as much to do with it as they think.
I’ve found that how successful a person is in relationships strongly correlates to how they feel about mistakes, whether their own or someone else’s.
If you feel that your mistakes make you less worthy as a person, then you’ll find relationships more difficult. You’ll feel enormous pressure to do everything right. You’ll beat yourself up over the slightest misstep. Being in a relationship will make you feel anxious, stressed, and worried. There’s just so much that could go wrong.
If, on the other hand, you look on each mistake as a learning experience, you’ll find relationships much easier. You’ll find it easier to relax and be yourself. You’ll be more accepting of all the ways in which life doesn’t go as planned. He’ll love the way you can laugh at yourself without taking yourself too seriously. It shows how confident you are—and makes you pretty cool, too.
2. Being able to forgive yourself makes you better able to forgive others.
The more mistakes you make—and the bigger they are—the more opportunities you have to cultivate the skill of forgiveness.
Have you ever noticed how it’s easier to forgive other people than it is to forgive yourself?
We understand that not everyone can be perfect, but we won’t let ourselves off the hook.
So, if you can forgive yourself for all the dumb things you’ve ever done, then it follows that you’ll be reallygood at forgiving him for doing stupid things.
Forgiveness is an essential relationship skill. One study found couples who managed to stay married for over 20 years had ten clearly defined traits that set them apart—and the ability to forgive and be forgiven was on the list.
3. Mistakes make your relationship stronger.
Another myth that leads us astray is the notion that we should aim for relationships that never have any problems.
We want smooth sailing. We don’t want anything to upset the apple cart. Surely the perfect relationship is the one where nothing goes wrong … or is it?
If you’re aiming for a long-term relationship, then you won’t be able to avoid challenges. Even if you’re the most well-matched couple on the planet, life will throw obstacles in your way. From financial struggles to health issues, problems are a normal part of most relationships.
And that’s a good thing.
Working through problems together is how we exercise our relationship muscles. We learn how to listen to one another, respect one another’s point of view, and move forward as a team.
Couples without problems never get that chance. Something big happens, and they can’t cope. They’ve never developed the skills to face adversity together.
So be more gentle with yourself when you make mistakes. They’re your greatest teachers.
I have been dating my boyfriend for about 7 years now and ever since I started using your techniques, I have seen great improvement! BUT, lately I find myself frustrated because I don’t feel as though he’s showing or proving himself to me as I am him. I have used all the advice and listened to all the tapes and he has definitely improved in his focus and even his discussion about marriage but I’m still not finding that he is doing the things I need in order to feel happiness or appreciation. Or coming up with things that might make me feel like he went out of his way to do for me. Idk what to do…I HAVE seen major improvements but it’s only based off of the positively and effort I put in. I want him to wake up and think “what can I do to make Kalela’s day?” …because that’s what I’m doing for him. How do I get him there?
Hi Kalela. What a wonderful question!
First of all, congratulations on doing your part to invest in a relationship that has been deepening as your love story unfolds. I can see why you get frustrated with him, though. No one wants to feel like progress rests solely on their own shoulders.
Often, in situations like this, we underestimate how blind our partner can be. We think it’s obvious what we need in order to feel loved and cherished. And since it’s so obvious, it feels like there’s no reason one should have to spell it out. Not to mention that spelling it out kind of feels like asking for flowers. When he shows up with flowers the next day, it feels less special than if he had thought of it on his own.
Despite all of that, the relationships I’ve seen flourish the most are the ones where both partners openly and consistently tell their partner exactly what they want and how it would make them feel. The trick is to convey these wants in a way that feels like a challenging game that would be exciting to win (rather than a scolding regarding all the ways he has failed you in the relationship). Good luck and keep up the good work!
You did it again! Thanks for the advice!