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Positive Thinking: Can It improve relationship problems?

By Larica Urbina, LPC

Let's talk about it, because we all have done it. I am talking about the times when we have had negative thoughts about the outcome of a situation in our relationship. The instances when we have tried to read the mind of our partner. Nine times our ten, we've have negative thoughts in mind. Most of the time, when we think we know something about our partner, its way off, incorrect and negative.

This is because we are being informed by our past and possibly our present.

If this is normal, what can I do about negative thinking?

As humans, we are sort of hard-wired to think the worst. In session, one of my clients told me that she would stay up all night thinking about scenarios of "what if this bad thing happened?" You might have found yourself doing this very same thing, without a threat in sight. The is our way of keeping ourselves safe from danger and fear.

Its best to think of our relationships as non threatening. If you start to think about it, your partner has not given you any material to work with that would cause you to think negative about them. A good question to ask yourself is. What is the evidence that is informing my negative thoughts? Can it be my own beliefs about myself, or possibly something I heard? Could it be something carried over from my past?

Could my thinking about my relationship, sabotage my future with my partner? Is it worth it?

Most likely, your fortune telling behavior. and mind reading attitude will break your relationship.

The beauty of a relationship is when there is vulnerability, openness, intimacy, learning one another, and acceptance despite flaws or even mistakes.

When we let our negative thoughts get into the drivers seat of our relationship, we can not accomplish this sort of beautiful relationship, and the negative thoughts often drive us to a destination that is often unknown and most of the time it is a very scary place.

If we think about it, having and acting out of negative thinking, is unfair to our partner. We are essentially betraying our partner by making it up in our mind bad things about our partner without them knowing.

Relationships require work, and for some, the dynamic of the relationship becomes much more enjoyable, when each partner goes to therapy and discover how to improve in areas of their life so that those pesky negative thoughts can be redirected into positive thoughts.

Redirecting Negative thoughts

Once you have identified negative thinking, it's important to acknowledge the thought, give it a name. For example, your partner leaving his dirty clothes on the floor of the bathroom, can bring up negative thoughts about your partner. You might want to jot them down. I would recommend you also jot down the emotions you are having, the feelings you are having. Then, do a bit of labeling of the thoughts. For instance you could think "he doesn't appreciate me." or "Does he think I am a maid?" I call these auto thoughts.

Redirect the thoughts, by thinking about a positive thing your partner does for you instead. Image the time when he cooked for you. Most of your work would be identifying why the trigger of leaving his clothes on the bathroom floor caused your so much distress.

Therapy can help

I say this to say that a therapist can help you to narrow down why your thoughts are in the drivers seat of your relationship, and why its causing your negative reaction. He or She will help you to find ways of redirecting your thoughts so that you are more in control. Ultimately, she can help turn those negative and inflexible thoughts into positive thoughts that serve you and your partnership well.


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