We all suffer from time to time. Suffering is any form of distress. In relationships, emotional distress is a signal there’s something to learn. With practice and discipline, these places of discomfort are where growth happens.
Suffering is present when our current situation is not congruent with our beliefs. For example, my husband wants to stay home from a shopping trip and I get irritated. What is my belief that is causing my pain? Maybe I believe that we should go everywhere together. Maybe I believe that we should equally share in household shopping. Maybe I believe that it’s a great opportunity for us to check out a new purchase.
Whatever the discomfort is, at the root is a belief. For simplicity sake, let’s say I believe in equally sharing household shopping. Is that an absolute fact? No, of course not. Many couples have different arrangements. Is my partner aware that I even believe he should be shopping with me? Probably not. We’re not very good at sharing or even identifying beliefs most of the time. Once I’ve identified and disclosed, it opens the door for compromise. Maybe we can adopt chore responsiblities in a way that feels more balanced.
It’s empowering to recall that your beliefs are under your control; you can change them. If you work longer hours than your partner, maybe it’s more balanced for them to do more of the shopping. Maybe your partner really enjoys shopping! I don’t like to shop with my partner because we end up spending more money than when I go alone! Maybe your partner influences you to spend less. There’s lots of good reasons to change that belief that shopping should be a shared chore.
Most importantly, examining beliefs which cause suffering is an excellent vehicle for your own self growth. If you understand the deeper “why” of your pain, you can be more open with your partner. The more emotionally intimate you are with each other, the stronger your relationship will become.
When you experience suffering (a painful emotion) take some time to explore. Ask yourself, “what am I believing right now?” Are you beliefs absolute? If they aren’t, can you change them up a bit?
Think about the last suffering you had in relation to your partner. Were you believing something that is perhaps not absolutely true? Can you imagine believing something different?
Tell me in the comments below how the situation would be different if you changed what you believe.