“Our feelings are a feedback mechanism to us about whether we’re on track, whether we’re on course or off course.” Jack Canfield
The voices – internal and external – are loud, persistent and conflicting. “Leave him. He’s not right for you!” “Are you crazy? She’s such a great gal…how could you think about getting out of your relationship?!”
You’re at a crossroads, trying to decide what to do, working hard at make sense in your own head about what you want. It’s been a pretty good relationship with highs and lows; intervals of stress and strain intermixed with moments of bliss. You’ve been in other relationships so you’re not naive about the challenges that pop up with any person; you know love takes effort.
Yet, there’s a nagging feeling of dissatisfaction that won’t go away. You’ve tried to stand back and assess exactly what isn’t right in the relationship. Your decision isn’t as straightforward as it might be if your partner was an abuser of some kind, but they’re really a good person. You’re just not happy in the relationship or who you are when you’re with your partner.
Your friends have strong opinions on what you should do and freely share them with you. “Go!” they say. “No, stay!” others state. You feel stuck, wondering where you go from here. You’re just not sure if the relationship is right for you.
How do you know when a relationship is right for you?
As humans, we have a built-in feedback mechanism — an inner GPS — that allows us to determine at any moment in time where we are. This feedback mechanism — our feelings — works without batteries, is always accurate, and operates completely without human assistance.
Feelings are our gauge of well-being. When we feel negative emotion — sad, discouraged, uptight, frustrated, angry, or dissatisfied — we can know instantaneously that something isn’t right. And when we feel joy, quiet calm, free, happy, content, and pleased or thrilled, we can also know instantaneously something is exactly right.
The challenge in relationships is that each day and with each interaction there is the potential for our feelings to shift up or down. So, how do you decide when the relationship is in trouble or is simply experiencing a momentary blip of bliss or misery?
It’s important to pay attention to the pattern(s) in the relationship. If, over the course, of time the daily blips are repeated and repeated, and your negative feelings continue, then there’s a pattern you might want to be concerned with.
Our inner voice – your true, authentic self – will let you know what’s best in any situation. It’s your compass…your directional force. It will never lead you astray.
It’s essential to pay attention to the whispers of your inner voice, those quiet nudges to make a change, go on a different path, and take a new tack in your life.
Healthy relationships, while occasionally causing the partners angst, overall bring joy, happiness and contentment to the individuals. There may be issues, conflicts, disagreements and/or problems, but once these get worked out, the partners are left with and experience satisfaction. They look forward to spending time with the other person. They’re aware of and accept their partner’s ‘quirks’, and deeply respect and like who they’re with. Each person has room to grow as an individual, and their partner understands this will enhance the relationship.
In healthy relationships partners feel good about themselves and the world. They feel deeply respected and cared for. They feel safe.
It takes courage…
It takes courage to take a no-holds barred, clear-eyed look at your relationship. To pay attention to your own feelings and authentic inner voice and give them credence. It takes courage to take charge of your own life and make your own decisions, not swayed by others’ opinions, about what’s important to you.
4 Tips for Growing Your Courage in Determining When a Relationship is Right for You:
Tune into your feelings often.
Develop a deep awareness of and appreciation of your own feedback mechanism to guide you through any situation and relationship.
Pay attention to your authentic inner voice.
It’s your true voice and will lead you in the right direction. When you feel a sense of inner calm, excitement, joy or satisfaction, you will know your authentic voice is at play.
Dismiss or refute your fear-based self-talk.
The other voices inside your head – your committee of saboteurs – wreak havoc on you, causing you to feel tired, worried, stressed, and fearful. If you listen to these voices you will make poor decisions and be reluctant to ever make changes.
Identify what is most important to you in your relationship.
List the qualities and characteristics you most want in a partner, and how you want to feel. Keep focused on what you want and let this guide your actions.