Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?

The other day a woman contacted me and voiced her concern for her partner. She really felt for him and asked me: “How do I get my partner to not put so much pressure on himself?”

So here we are in the 21st century, where the automated support we have at our disposal is nearly endless and yet we are still putting ourselves under extreme pressure.

The washing is done automatically, we don’t have to memorise phone numbers any more, finding our way is a bliss thanks to the maps on our smartphone. We can have a coffee at literally every corner of the country and if we missed a movie we could download it from the web at a fraction of the cost of the movie tickets.

And still we are not content. We want more in less time.

If this sounds all too familiar and you have identified that you put enormous pressure on yourself, the reason behind it undoubtedly stems from your personality traits.

This self-prescribed pressure might be because you see yourself as the provider for a family and your own money beliefs dictate you to make more money every day.

Or you might be in a job where you are stressed because of the peer-pressure and the expectations of your boss and customers.

When you are in a relationship there is also a great deal of pressure coming from within the relationship. Depending on your personality you might (subconsciously) compete with your partner. Or you may even put pressure on your partner through your own expectations. Maybe you want to start a family or to move into a bigger home and your partner feels your expectations of them as additional pressure.

If you find that your partner is under extreme pressure, maybe you need to stop for a minute and reflect on what you are actually contributing to their stress. Often times it is not a verbal contribution or at least not explicit. We all pick up more or less on the subtleties of communication, meaning you might involuntarily add to the overall mixture of stress for your partner.

The solution? Well, my answer to the lady who contacted me was to look at how she could assist in reducing the stress within the relationship.

You know that you can’t make your partner change. To get your partner to put less pressure on himself you can only start by changing your actions. You could make him feel your support no matter what curve balls have been thrown at him. You could show your unconditional love and your unwavering empathy.

Only once he has realised that he is in fact putting too much pressure on himself, will he do something about it. He needs to realise for himself that too much pressure does lead to stress and frustration and health issues. Once he makes those connections he is more likely to put a plan into place to eliminate the pressure – he needs to be the one to do something about it.

What you can do…

Talk to your partner and listen carefully for clues. You’ll notice the difference between a momentary stress or a constant pressure that is pushing him close to breaking point.

Also be open and show empathy. You might also want to ask your partner whether you are adding to his or her pressure. Or you could ask what you might be able to do to help.

Remember you are a team. And as it is with every chain – it breaks at the weakest link.

How I could help you…

Contact me if you think an outside perspective might be helpful. We can always arrange for a 15-minute obligation free call where you can find out how I could offer support and guidance.

Try finding out the status of your relationship first, by completing this short quiz. Answering 25 questions will give you pretty good assessment of your current relationship.