Let me introduce you to someone.**
Someone who was afraid to fail.
And I mean deathly afraid. I get it though. I would be too, if failure was something I wasn’t used to.
Not only that but for more than a decade, he was told he couldn’t.
He was not allowed to fail.
He heard the usual “You’re the best of the best,” comments from his superiors but he also heard, “You MUST BE the best of the best. That’s what’s expected of you. That’s your job.”
So over time, he was conditioned to believe he WAS the best.
Because if he wasn’t … what was he?
That’s one of the many ways the Marines shaped him.
- To be confident in his words, decisions, actions, + leadership.
- To be confident in his ideas, knowledge, + ability to be right.
- To be confident that he would never make a mistake.
He had to be all of these things. The lives of his fellow soldiers depended on it.
And then he met HER**. And everything changed.
She challenged him on every front that he was so accustomed to being praised for.
She was this deep feeling woman who was told how kind, caring + empathic she was.
She came into his life + asked him to do things that didn't make sense to him...
>> She asked him to “not care who won sometimes” when playing board games.
>> She asked him to consider that others way of doing things were “ok” even if they weren’t the “best” way.
>> She asked him to RISK being wrong. To be ok with making mistakes. Now + then. Over + Over.
Because in relationships, that's what you do. That's just what happens.
In relationships, often times you, you make mistakes.
And, it’s ok.
Because in relationships, being wrong, failing + making mistakes makes you vulnerable.
And what we know about vulnerability is that it is connecting.
There’s not room for that in the military, or as the CEO, or the surgeon or any other HIGH-PRESSURE-perfection-is-required position.
- You’re not there to connect deeply - you’re there to get the job done.
- You’re not there to understand the people you’re with - you’re there to get the job done.
- And you’re certainly not there to show tenderness + kindness - you’re there to do your job to the BEST of your abilities.
Because if you don’t, people can die.
But your intimate relationships are MUCH different.
What a stark difference from marriage.
What a stark difference from any deeply intimate relationship that requires you to care, connect + be wrong sometimes.
Recently, this man who feared failure + this woman who cared deeply had been feeling incredibly disconnected.
It’s an awful feeling. It’s lonely. For both of them.
And for someone like her, who thrives from lots of tenderness + hugs, it was terrifying.
One night she was sitting there, hot tears streaming down her face, mid-fight, and all she needed was his arms wrapped around her, telling her that everything was going to be ok …
She didn’t make demands.
She didn't scream + yell.
She didn't dare look up to see when the hug came.
She just waited...
She waited. And waited. And waited some more.
And then she looked up.
There he was. Just standing there. Looking at her. Quietly. Thoughtfully.
And she knew. He was afraid.
They'd been bickering all week. And he was afraid. To fail. To say the wrong thing.
He looked at her crying, with his sad eyes, + asked, “Is there anything I can do for you right now?”
“Are you shitting me?!?!” she thought to herself..
Ughhh, yeah. You know the drill. Get your ass over here + hug me. Make me feel loved. Tell me everything is going to be ok, even though we’re both mad. Get over here! LOVE ME!
But nothing came out. None of that. Those words were burning her from inside like hot lava.
She just cried more.
He was so afraid to fail, to hurt her even more or to make a mistake that he didn’t do the thing he FELT was the best.
He was thoughtful + logical … but that is not what they needed most in that moment.
His logic told him to stay right where he was. Not to risk going toward her pain. Because he might make it worse.
His logic told him to “Figure out the RIGHT thing to do first, then do it.” So he searched for the "right" answer.
His logic trumped his emotional response to seeing her in pain.
THEY needed him to allow his feelings to guide him. (which went against everything he’d been trained to know is the RIGHT way to operate).
And I say “They” needed something else, because his ability to make a mistake by loving her, is exactly what their relationship needed.
It’s what SO MANY relationships need.
To have the courage to make the mistake, by loving your partner.
We readily make lots of mistakes in our relationships …
- By trying to prove our point.
- By trying to be heard.
- By trying to be right.
- By shutting down to avoid pain/conflict.
- By trying to convince the other person.
But what we really need is to practice making mistakes by LOVING OUR PARTNERS.
That means …
When you’re afraid to go in for that hug, do it anyway.
When it makes the most sense to offer a solution, try, “I’m so sorry that happened to you,” instead.
When you’re not sure how to support them, look at them lovingly + say “I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.”
When all you want to do is run because it’s so uncomfortable to see them sad, angry, or scared … stay right by their side + say, “I’m not going anywhere. I’m here with you.”
Take a risk of being wrong, failing + making a mistake by loving your partner.
Make the mistake by loving them.
And if making mistakes isn’t your jam, I get it. Do it anyway, your relationship needs these kinds of mistakes. Your relationship depends on your ability to lovingliny make mistakes.
If you’d like some help in loving your partner, even if it means possibly failing now + then, let’s chat.
Click the "Let's Chat" button below to sign up for a complementary quick chat about how you can start making mistakes by LOVING your partner, TODAY. They’ll thank you for reaching out. They’ll thank you for loving them the way they’ve been craving you to … for too long.
** The individuals portrayed in this writing are not actual clients.