"Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." -John 15:9
This verse comes right after Jesus talks about the analogy of the Father as a gardener and himself as the vine. Pruning can be painful but at the same time a strengthening process. I've found in my own life that God has to prune me sometimes and tear away the pride and selfish motives in my heart in order to grow me. Life truly does go better when I abide in Him and allow Him to live through me, producing fruit.
It can be easy to get caught up in a performance mentality in the sense of "I'm going to produce fruit by working really hard and making plans of my own." While there's nothing wrong with hard work, if it is not fruit that God has ordained, it's false and produces sour grapes. In seeking after the fruit of the Spirit by remaining in Christ, He transforms me and grows me as He desires rather than according to my plans.
Performance based mentality can also lead to a sense of failure and belief that He doesn't love us due to trying hard to please Him when in reality, all He wants is for us to abide in His love and allow His power to work in and through us.
Abide in Him.