Want to get along better with every single person in your life? Then AVOID these 7 Mindsets that create STRESS and HAVOC in relationships!
Our mind is a thought factory producing thoughts 24/7—sometimes up to 80,000 thoughts a day. We usually accept them as true and don’t take time to examine them but often they lie to us!
We’d all be much happier and get along much better if we took time to become aware of, examine and question our thoughts!
Look at the list of typical thoughts that harm relationships and ask yourself if any of these are true for you.
Sometimes we get stuck in the way we think and then withdraw, attack or give up.
Ask yourself, “Is there a different way to think about this?”
You label the other person, leading you to believe that he or she can never change: “He’s passive-aggressive”; “She’s psycho.”
Rather than label them, you can look for “variability” in their behavior. “Sometimes he/she withdraws and sometimes he/she interacts with me.” I’ll try to ask/notice/figure out what leads to the withdrawal.
You forecast the future and predict that things will never get better, leaving you feeling helpless and hopeless:
“He’ll never change”; “I’ll always be unhappy in this relationship.”
Instead, focus on specific things that you can say or do to help the relationship—focus on solutions.
Look back at positive experiences that you’ve had together to challenge your idea that nothing will improve.
You can also play a little game called “Catch Them Being Good.” Just list every positive you can find and notice, no matter how small. You might be surprised at all the positives you can find — if you let yourself.
You interpret their motivations as hostile or selfish on the basis of very little evidence: “You don’t care how I feel”; “You’re saying that because you’re trying to get back at me.”
Rather than engaging in mind-reading, you can ask them what they meant or how they are feeling.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to give them the benefit of the doubt: “They simply need some time to unwind” is a better interpretation than “they are being such a jerk.”
You treat conflict or problems as if they indicate that the world has ended.
“I can’t stand her nagging”; “It’s absolutely awful!”
A better way of looking at this is that all relationships face problems — some of them quite upsetting.
Rather than look at an obstacle or a problem as “terrible,” you might validate that it is difficult for both of you but that it is also an opportunity to learn new skills in communicating and interacting.
Problems can be learning experiences and can provide some new ways to grow.
You attribute other people’s moods and behavior to something about yourself, or you take all the blame for the problems:
“He’s in a bad mood because of me”; “I must have done something wrong.”
Phyllis was doing a lot of personalizing, thinking that Ralph wanted to be alone because he found her boring. But really Ralph was so burned out at the end of the day that he needed a little while to cool down. It wasn’t about Phyllis; it was about Ralph’s day.
Try not to take it personal.
Discounting the Positive
You may recognize the positive things in your relationship but disregard them: “That’s what a wife or husband should do”; “Well, so what that he did that? He/she should!”; “These are trivial things that you’re talking about.” (this same concept can be applied to co-workers, friends and relatives)
Every positive should be counted — it’s the only way to build up good will. In fact, if you start counting the positives rather than discounting them, they will no longer seem trivial.
Sam learned that focusing on the positive made a big difference in how he felt in all of his relationships. As he began keeping track of other people’s positives, it helped him recognize that an occasional negative — was outweighed by the many good things in the relationship.
You have a list of “commandments” about your relationship and condemn yourself or the other person for not living up to them.
“They should know what I want without my asking.”
“They should do it my way.”
“They shouldn’t make me so upset.”
“We shouldn’t have to work at it, getting along should come naturally.”
“I shouldn’t have to wait for change; it should come immediately.”
“They should accept me just the way I am.”
The more shoulds you have for your relationships, the more unhappy you will be.
Rather than talk about the way things “should” be, try to replace your shoulds with “could we try.” “Shoulding” isn’t helpful but you can make progress by acting differently and communicating in a caring way.
Take time to notice if any of these “mindsets” are affecting your
relationships and make an effort to become
consciously aware of how you can change them.
When you can change your mindset for the positive, you will see positive changes in your relationships!