There’s a funny quirk when it comes to human behaviour and motivation…
Most people will do anything to solve a deeply painful experience that they feel in the present moment, but very little to prevent that same event from entering their life in the future.
But it is exactly these preventative measures that not only keep those terrible things from happening to you in the future, but also improve the quality of your life throughout the entire journey.
You can take the time to feel grateful for your partner on a daily basis, or you can slowly build resentment towards them and let your ever-mounting bitterness erode the joy in your relationship.
You can make the time to get regular exercise and sweat out your stress hormones, or you can make room in the future for anxiety, chronic tension, limited mobility, and heart disease.
You can honour the creative impulses that arise in you on a regular basis, or you can try to manage the gnawing sense of unease in your heart by numbing with drinking, doing drugs, and shopping mindlessly.
You can make high quality sleep a consistent priority, sleep eight hours per night, and take naps when your body feels like it needs one, or you can eventually discover that you’re at heightened risk for obesity, depression, high blood pressure, and heart failure.
You can stubbornly carve out time to ensure that you make fun a priority by regularly scheduling unstructured play time with close friends, or you can have a general sense of listlessness wash over you as your life becomes a smear of monotonous drudgery.
Here’s why I’m writing about this topic today…
More than 90% of the couples that come to me for help come to me when they have already been struggling and, in many ways, neglecting each other for years.
It’s never a surprise to the people in the partnership. They always knew that things were bad. They simply became complicit in agreeing to not talk about the constant source of tension between them. They non-verbally agreed on the shared reality of, “This stress and tension is our new normal. Let’s not call attention to it because to face it would be to give it more power than it deserves.” When in reality the lack of communication, intentionality, and preventive measures is exactly what led them to their current emotional reality.
Nothing is ever black and white. No thing is ever only caused by one thing.
But absolutely everything that we do (or choose to not do) has consequences and repercussions in our lives.
So make time for exercise.
Make time for creativity, play, and connection.
Make time for self-care.
Make time for love.
It isn’t always convenient to do so, but it’s always worth it.