“Pain in this life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable.” RD Laing, MD
Yesterday I had a VIP Day with a brave and openhearted woman struggling to understand whether or not she should release her 39-year marriage and to make peace with her decision.
Having been a therapist, she picked up many of the coaching tools I shared with her and concepts quickly. But she also taught me something yesterday as well: There is an important distinction between loving someone and using someone:
When we use our partners to avoid pain,
it’s the most unloving thing we can do.
When we tell our partners, “You can’t leave…I don’t know how to live life without you,” that’s using, not loving.
When we remain in a safe but painful and unfulfilling marriage because we want to maintain our lifestyle and avoid the judgement of others, that’s using, not loving.
And when we take responsibility for our partner’s pain and use that as an excuse to not face our fears and create the life we really desire, that’s using, not loving.
This was such a powerful awareness for both of us.
She was able to see how she and her husband had both been using one another to avoid the pain of facing their own fears. That wasn’t who she wanted to be. She wanted to be loving (and I bet he does too).
She wanted to love him well if she stayed…
And she wanted to be love him well if she left…yea, even if she left, she had the opportunity to love him well.
It’s a worthwhile question to ask yourself: In what way might I be using my partner to avoid pain?
Here’s what she had to say about her day:
“I anticipated today being more impactful than I could imagine, but I had no idea how spectacular it would actually be. Thank you for walking along side my heart and soul. I am deeply grateful.”