We have a tendency to focus on the negatives, what doesn’t work, weaknesses and deficiencies, and how much our partner “sucks”. This is the kiss of death in life and relationships. This is a sure way of staying stuck in the status quo for what we focus on persists: we co-create it, manifest it, invite it …
The focus on negativity creates a state of fear which induces a fight, flight or freeze response:
Thoughts -> Feelings -> Action
If you think negative thoughts, what I call “crooked thinking” (not reality based …), you generate negative feelings (pain …), and therefore the resulting actions are meant to swiftly address this pain. But as they are ill-conceived they are in the form of defense mechanisms and reactivity creating more issues and more pain. This becomes a vicious cycle keeping you from moving forward in your life and stuck in a dissatisfying relationship.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happens in relationships when the focus is on the negatives and what doesn’t work … The resulting criticism, complaining, power struggling, and lack and deprivation erode the bond, connection, passion and good will. As you can imagine this creates a toxic situation that becomes pervasive and impossible to live with. It sucks the life out of your relationship, and your life … You don’t even have to be verbally critical – show disapproval with your body language and facial expressions, or even just in your thoughts … the impact is the same!!
Fortunately, there is a VERY simple solution to this dilemma and tendency … The antidote to this plague is Appreciation … The brain can not physically, biologically, have its fear and appreciation centers activated simultaneously. This means that if we can figure out how to be in a state of appreciation, we can bypass the fear state and therefore break this cycle!
Here are two methods I teach my peeps to use to enrich their relationship and life:
Appreciation RX: Once the brain’s appreciation center is activated, and the feeling good chemicals are released, its blissful effect lasts for a few hours. Therefore, I devised this intervention where you are “prescribed” to take an appreciation “dose” 3x / day. This can translate into doing appreciations at breakfast, lunch and dinner – just like taking medicine or vitamins! You can build this into any kind of ritual, or routine, that works for you like being thankful for meals, brushing teeth, drinking coffee, commuting, etc.
Appreciations don’t have to be anything fancy – don’t let this task scare you. Just open your eyes and see the beauty around you… There is plenty to see! Be thankful for what is…
Partner Appreciation: I know that when we are hurt, disappointed or feeling resentful that it is close to impossible to think of what we appreciate about our partner and even harder to share this with them. Herein lies the beauty of this exercise. When you stretch to focus on the positive and notice your partner’s magnificence, and therefore what they bring to the relationship, you are then gifted with their magnificence!
This is an amazing feat not only because we have the tendency to look for negatives and deficiencies, because in partnership we trigger each other for the purpose of growing and healing, but because our ego is threatened. To be able to transcend all this and truly see your partner, and then share it with them – WOW! When you start doing this, you start experiencing the relationship you want!
It IS that simple! Focus on what your partner contributes, things you like about them, things they’ve done that touch you, notice the effort they put in and how they are trying (yes, they are trying their own way…). Appreciate this, and lo and behold!
Don’t let your relationship continue to suffer at the mercy of negatives. Implement one of the methods now, and start creating changes. Hey, do both for good measure and maximum impact! Go for it, give them a try.
Do the MetroRelationship ™ Assignment below to assist you effortlessly implement this and immediately start experiencing the relationship you want!
Notice the good, acknowledge the gifts, be Thankful – express your Appreciation!
~ Your MetroRelationship ™ Assignment
Share this concept with your partner and commit to having an appreciation session (10 min) once a week at a mutually agreeable time.
Copyright (c) 2016 Emma K. Viglucci. All rights reserved.
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and a variety of Successful Couple™ content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com.