I had a big fight with my boyfriend a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t anything major, but tempers ran high and we were upset. In the subsequent days, when I had time to think, I realized that most of all, I felt tired. I didn’t want to have fights, I didn’t want to get upset, I was exhausted from feeling all these feelings. I questioned, as all couples do, if it was worth it. “It seems like we fight all the time”, “What’s the point of all this?”, “Why are we doing this to ourselves!?”.
It’s so easy to say those things in the aftermath of all sorts of bad feelings and really feel that you mean them. We tend to forget the wonderful experiences when we’ve felt uplifted and alive and honoured. We get ready to give up on the relationship the second it makes us feel badly.
While I was in this state of funk, I texted my mum. I told her we’d had a big fight, and she could tell I was down. After getting some of the details, she wrote something that made me stop, breathe and re-center:
Nothing worthwhile is easy.
It’s true, isn’t it? Things that are easy might be nice, and pleasant, and maybe even fun, but usually they’re not important & worthwhile. Of course, there are probably a few examples of worthwhile things that seem easy (not that I can think of any right now). I would argue though: were they without any negative emotions? Without feelings of doubt, fear, anger, hopelessness, etc? Although, of course, most human experiences have negative emotions, I think it’s harder to stick with worthwhile ones, because they require so much more work than other experiences. Wouldn’t it just be easier to turn to friends-with-benefits scenarios instead of engaging in serious relationships, to eat tasty junk food instead of learning to nourish yourself, to hang out with friends that only talk about superficial things? Yes. It would be easier. But would it be worthwhile?
worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance : extra lighting would make a worthwhile contribution to road safety.
You might have an easy relationship, but if it’s always easy, it’s probably not giving you much that could be considered of value or importance. Of course, this would depend on what you personally would define as valuable in a relationship, but for me: trust, understanding, inspiration, acceptance, communication. Those are things I believe are worthwhile, and consequently I don’t believe you can achieve any of those things without some effort, time, conflict and difficulty.
Think of a few things that you would consider worthwhile, important, valuable. Friendships? Volunteer work? Campaigning for something? Maintaining personal values? Nothing worthwhile is easy. Worthwhile things are wrought with struggles, frustration, negative emotions. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on them. It doesn’t mean that we should throw in the towel on a boyfriend or best friend just because there’s conflict. That’s the whole point: these things are worth it. Which means that working through the hard times will pay you back in great times.
To a certain extent, we all know this intuitively. When we really believe in something, we’re willing to fight for it against adversity, to defend it against criticism, to work for it because we know in the end it will be worth it. This is just meant as a reminder: are you considering giving up on something that might end up being worthwhile?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!