I'd like to offer a few things which are so simple, but can radically alter your relationship for the better.
The importance of positive outcomes
If you have ever had any dealings with children, or seen parents with children, you may have noticed when a parent says to a child, "Don't do this," "Don't do that," "If you do this, there will be consequences!"
The human mind doesn't recognize negatives - in the sense that whatever is the focus of attention - that's what you see. The phrase "Don't think of a pink elephant," is a great example - because the first thing you are going to think of if someone says that - is a pink elephant!
With so many "Don'ts" - what happens with children - and with all of us in every human relationship - is that the child will just become confused.
But if a parent instead presents a positive outcome - the child will invariable go for it straight away. And this is the same for every human being, regardless of age. So it is good to have a positive outcome.
Another example of putting a negative in focus might be "I don't want to argue." Which is great. But then it's important to say what you do want. Which might be - "I don't want to argue - I want to compromise."
If you say this in the middle of an argument - and mean it - it can absolutely change the direction of the way things are going. And if you add into that what you want specifically on your side of the compromise you have both an entry into negotiation and a positive outcome, which can open up the situation so you can both begin communicating and working together in a more amicable way.
What you can do - when dealing with people who don't have positive outcomes?
Obviously the first thing to do if possible is to convert a negative outcome into a positive one. But what if the other person stays negative, stays in their "critic", and won't hear anything positive you are saying at all?
The most tempting thing, is to give them their own back - and I don't know about you, but when I've done that - I think I am teaching them a lesson - and they will learn from getting what they are giving back how unpleasant it is. This may sometimes work - but 99 times out of 100 it perpetuates the situation. And it can be even more infuriating if you think to yourself when someone is being continually negative, critical, defamatory, mean-spirited, ect. "I do not deserve this at all!"
In my experience, the quickest way out of the situation, is not to respond in kind to their negativity. It is really good, if you take time and have a Gap immediately after what they have said or done - or are doing.
Then think of what you want positively out of this situation?
Then, I suggest, acting with power, confidence, and kindness - being very clear about what is happening and not taking it personally (no matter how personal it may seem or really is!) - so you step into your power acting on what you want in the present moment - and imagine that good outcome happening for real right here right now in the situation in accordance with your own actions - so you carry it through!
And sort for positives in the other person, in their actions, words, thoughts and deeds - so while the temptation on the other side of an argument may be to punish them and maintain the situation - step out of the situation mentally and give yourself a gap - see what you really want - and put that into action - by being clear, kind, and focused with a positive outcome yourself - not waiting for the other person to start (which is very important - because all you can be responsible for is you - and you might be waiting a very long time for another person to become kind, loving, insightful ect. - and waiting is pretty needless when you can begin to do and make happen what you want to have happen right here right now yourself). So notice there are only two directions - one which takes you towards your positive outcome and one which takes you away - and act according to the direction you are going now.
If you do these things really out of the goodness of your heart, you may well find holding this state and practicing these simple steps where you lead and be the person who want to be - by example, inspires change, love and kindness and positive outcomes in others and in the situations you face. And that this approach is far more real and profound than the trap of trying to rationally "win" an argument or logic things through, although from this state the power of your own logic and reasoning will be far more because it's lead by the love of a good positive outcome.
And the thought I'd like to leave you with something I love, which is when the Dalia Lama was asked what his religion was? He replied, "Kindness."
We offer couple counselling in London and Bath, so please do get in touch if you are ready to make life change improvements to your relationship.
I hope you have a very good day!
John Donlon Couple Counsellor and Relationship Coach
THE RELATIONSHIP EXPERTS International Relationship Experts John Donlon and Linda Connors have over 30 experience between them. They offer powerful and life changing relationship couple counselling and personal development programmes. They work with individuals and couples in the UK, America, Europe and Australia. If you are in relationship crisis are ready to take the first step into saving your relationship you can contact us on 0800 024 86 47.
Linda and John offer relationship advice, solutions and share their thoughts on love, relationships, marriage and intimacy.
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