The mind is a powerful thing. By just thinking, dreaming, and imagining, we can begin to shape our worlds into anything we desire. Similarly, even when we feel like we have little control over what happens to us, we're often subconsciously pulling things into our lives. And by focusing on our fears and perpetuating negative thought patterns, the outcome tends to be exactly that. So what does this mean when it comes to our relationships, and what are some of the subconscious thought patterns that might be negatively affecting them? The good news is, once we acknowledge what we're doing, it's that much easier to change our lives for the better.
Negative Thought Patterns In Relationships
1. I can change my partner by focusing on the things I don't like about them. We should know by now as adults through trial and error, that the more you focus on negativity, the more the negativity surfaces and gets attracted. It's one thing to bring to someone's attention something you don't like, it's another to make them feel less than because of it. Supporting your partner and contributing to the positivity they hold towards themselves is the most effective way to create positive change.
2. My partner knows I love them, so I don't have to tell them or show them regularly. Once we start assuming and taking things for granted in a relationship is when it starts to get unhealthy. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and everyone wants to feel loved, especially by those they hold the most dear. By regularly showing your partner how much you care, you inspire them to act in kind, and you keep the bonds of intimacy strong.
3. My partner loves me so it's ok for me to treat them badly at times. We really do tend to treat those we love the most, the worst out of anyone in our lives. This behaviour is completely illogical, and needs a heavy dose of self-policing to conquer. When we feel completely comfortable around someone, we check ourselves less, because we're not so afraid of what they'll think of us - they already know and love us. This is selfish behaviour and is linked to taking them for granted. Realize in this situation you are hurting someone you love, and why would you let yourself do such a thing?
4. I'm right and they're wrong. Relationships are about two people - not just one. A lot of us can be addicted to the feeling of power brought on by being "right", to the point of being too rigid and controlling. Everyone has a right to their feelings and thoughts, and we all perceive the same things in different ways. The key is finding a solution that works for both partners, it's not about trying to persuade someone into agreeing with you. It's not a victory when you "convince" someone their viewpoint is "wrong", and you will learn far more by staying open to another's viewpoint and not just your own.
5. Our relationship will take care of itself. This is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. A relationship is a living, growing thing, and therefore needs to be fed. If you don't water a plant for two weeks, it slowly starts to die. The same thing goes for relationships - if you stop putting effort into them, you'll stop getting anything out of them, and before you know it, the damage can be irreparable. A little regular effort goes a long way...
6. They should know what I need and what I'm thinking - I shouldn't have to tell them. This couldn't be further from the truth. Assuming someone can read your mind is only going to lead to resentment and broken expectations. When you want or need something, you need to communicate this, in a loving and gentle way. If you're not getting what you need or want, avoid the temptation to "get off" on holding a grudge and holding onto misdirected anger. No one knows fully knows what you need except you, so start by asking for it!
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