The Lost Art Of Trying In Our Relationships

Let me paint a few scenarios for you, darling, so that we can jump right into the topic of trying.

Scenario One: You are fighting with your very best friend and aren’t talking it out. It has been days of silence and cold shoulders and you are wondering how long this needs to go on. You want to call, you want her to call, you want to resolve this issue. You hear through mutual friends that she isn’t going to reach out because she did nothing wrong and she won’t be speaking to you until you speak to her first. She isn’t budging.

Scenario Two: You are sitting across the table from your mother while she talks about something she doesn’t like about herself. She worries too much, she overthinks things, she wants to be different, and when you tell her she has the power to change the person she is, she says “But this was how I was raised” and the conversation ends.

Scenario Three: You are crying, the man you love is angry and you can’t even remember what you are fighting over. You finally decide to drop it, the conversation got heated and the issue at hand wasn’t even something worth fighting about. Once a bit of time passes you confront him and ask why anger is such an easy emotion for him. He doesn’t get sad like you do. He struggles to remain calm when discussing a controversial subject, but mad? Oh, he can get mad. He replies, “I don’t know, I wish it wasn’t so easy for me to get angry but it is just who I am.”

Now, I just made these examples up but I have experienced them in some sort of similar fashion in my life, on many different occasions, with most of the people I love. I am sure situations like these have happened over and over in your life too and there is a good chance you’ve been on both sides of this coin—I know I have.

My message today is about the art of trying. Trying is so simple and requires such little effort, yet people struggle heavily with humbling themselves and becoming vulnerable. Trying is vital to a healthy and loving relationship, and without it, I am convinced all relationships will not succeed.

I have always said that the one thing I want in a significant other is someone who tries. I want someone who is going to put the same effort into me, as I am going to put into them. With my friends, I will never let an argument take our friendship away. I will never let my personal pride, ego or stubbornness rob us of our years of love and friendship, and I find comfort in the belief that they wouldn’t either. If I fight with my parents, I will say I’m sorry. Even if I know my mother is wrong or my dad is being sensitive, I will apologize. I love them so much and if something I have said has hurt them, that is reason enough to say sorry and try to resolve the situation.

Some people hold their kindness so close to them. They won’t give it out easily, they won’t admit fault in situations and they are cold in the face of someone who they’ve visibly hurt. What do these people gain? Does it make them feel good to know that someone is hurting because of their actions, yet they are so “strong” they refuse to admit fault or try to resolve the situation? They would rather lose this person than be the first to try to fix things?

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photo of a man carrying his partner

I understand that trying is scary. Essentially, you must take down the wall you’ve built up to protect yourself and you have to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is terrifying but absolutely essential to all important relationships in your life. I won’t sugarcoat this for you either: Sometimes you will be rejected and it hurts. You will call that friend that hurt you first and she will hang up on you and it stings, but I offer you this comfort: At the end of the day you can sleep better knowing you tried. You put effort in, you put yourself out there and you can rest easy without any regrets because you tried. I have been hurt many times by being shut down in that same way and I can tell you this: I have never regretted humbling myself and trying. If our friendship or relationship ends, it won’t be because I didn’t do all that was in my power to fix it, it will be because you didn’t and although that has often broken my heart, it has always made me proud of myself and who I am.

I will also warn you that people who don’t have the ability to admit fault within themselves will tell you that you are weak for not staying mad at someone you love or holding out longer in an argument. They will tell you that you are a doormat and you let everyone walk all over you. They will say you always say sorry because you are pathetic and desperate, not “strong” like they are. Let me tell you, people who say things like this are not strong. They are weak and prideful, they see a quality in you that they can’t fathom because they are so consumed with being “right.” Trying isn’t weak; letting someone know you love them and will try to do better by them is true strength.

I also wouldn’t be doing this subject justice without touching on the art of trying with yourself. The cop out “I am who I am,” is one that everyone has heard and used. I remember a few years ago looking in the mirror and not loving the person that looked back. I was afraid of everything, I was scared to put myself out there, I was afraid of change, I was living in the land of “what if,” and it was paralyzing me. I am happy to report after years of trying, I no longer think like that. I didn’t want to be that person and I changed my way of thinking. The other alternative would be to tell my reflection “This is just who you are, like it or not you will always be this way,” and sorry, that isn’t going to work for me. If you don’t like something about yourself, change it! Never allow your mind to be a home to qualities that you aren’t proud of.

If you are one of those people who don’t try, start today. It is that easy. When you look at the mirror, love the person that looks back at you. Don’t give yourself the option to make all of these excuses: my parents didn’t tell me they loved me so I can’t tell you; I was raised to be cold; I was taught to consume myself in worry; it is just who I am; you need to accept me and my bad habits; if you don’t like something about me it is your problem not mine. Never say those things again, my friends. Take a deep long look within your soul and see what type of person you are, look into the ways you love those that love you. Do you try? Are you always trying to be the best version of yourself for your loved ones? Or do you wallow in the excuse that you are how you are? Don’t ever settle for a person in the mirror that you aren’t incredibly proud of. Always try.

View Comment (1)
  • Thank you for this. You have put my thoughts into words. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out what I can do to fix situations with these but once you’ve done everything you can it seems impossible to fix. Knowing that most things come down to actually trying makes me have more faith that things can change and don’t have to stay broken because “that’s just how I am”.

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