Use this simple trick to battle negative thoughts in your relationship

I dare to say that majority of us is hardwired to look for errors. After the initial romantic phase wears off and we are in the midst of the everyday hustle, we shift our attention to the errors. I loved this Danish saying “Find fem fejl” meaning find five errors used for describing people who are always able to find errors even on seemingly perfect things. It made me realize I used to be like that until recently.

Do these thoughts sound even remotely familiar?

He knew I had the important call at 8, why is he late? This is so disrespectful!

Why doesn’t he ever take me for a surprise dinner or a trip?

He looks so disinterested, I feel like TV, his phone or soccer are more important to him!

Why it always has to be me organizing the important things?

He promised to do the work in the garden 6 months ago…

Don’t blame yourself for this tendency to criticize and see the negative, I am told it is biology, so we do it automatically. I am not going to talk about how our brain is evolutionarily developed in such a way, that we perceive the negative faster and more often because in the past our life depended on it. I want to focus on what can you actually do right now to feel better.

Now, I would like you to do one thing. Think of all the thoughts that have been bugging you about your partner and your relationship. Write them down on paper. Sit for a minute. How do these thoughts make you feel?

Angry, resigned, irritated, sad, unloved, ugly, unworthy, insecure.

All these are….negative emotions. They make us less happy.

There is only one purpose for negative emotions. They are alert signals. None of us puts a hand on a hot stove and keeps it there, right? So why do we keep doing that with our negative emotions? We experience it and we keep staying in it. Is it really necessary? Absolutely not.

So, let´s do another thing. For each thought creating negative emotions, try to think of at least three great things you are happy for or appreciate. They can be related to the original thought or they can be completely unrelated.

Let´s give it a try, here I go:

He came late and delayed your important meeting.

  • He comes on time most of the time.
  • He doesn’t hesitate to reschedule his programme when I have a call unexpectedly.
  • He came late because the tyre burst on the car. I am so happy this did not lead to an accident.
  • He stays with our son when I have to work late at night.
  • He supports me in my business and that can be more uncommon than it seems – so many women have partners who do not support them being a businesswoman.
  • He skips his work when our nanny unexpectedly doesn’t show up and I have some important meetings.

Why doesn’t he ever take you for a surprise dinner or a trip?

  • He doesn’t spend whole nights watching soccer at the bar and comes home when he is finished working.
  • When I want to go to eat my favourite food, to stroll to the river or have a drink on Sunday morning, he accompanies me even if he would prefer to lie in the bed and rest.
  • He is saving money for doing the bathroom renovation.

He looks so disinterested, you feel like TV, his phone or soccer is more important to him!

  • He has been up and down running to make money for us.
  • He is home with me.
  • When I tell him what I need, he gives it to me, be it a hug, romantic breakfast date or a stroll.

Why it always has to be me organizing the important things?

  • I have the freedom to organize things according to what I prefer.
  • He is trusting me enough to handle important things in my own preferred way.
  • I do not have an over-controlling husband who would want to control everything I do.

He promised to do the work on the garden 6 months ago…

  • I have a husband who actually delivers on his promise even if it is a few months late.
  • I appreciate him finding time to work on the garden even if we would prefer to do something else.
  • I am happy we are still here, together, safe and healthy, as a family

Now, how do you feel now?

Thankful, grateful, calm, peaceful, appreciative, in love, secure, lucky…This feels so much better, doesn’t it?

Probably you know it, but let me tell you again.

You are the ONE WHO CHOOSES negative or positive emotions. You are the ONE WHO DECIDES IF YOU LOOK FOR ERRORS OR APPRECIATION.

We can actually train our brains to go automatically for the positive perspective once we identify the negative emotion. It is not about being perfect and never feeling pissed, sad, mad or like total crap. It is about being able to remove our hands from the stove. It is about choosing that we prefer to be grateful and feel positive emotions.

What do you choose?

Being the five-error person who sees negative even on the beautiful birthday cake?

Or the person who appreciates the positive even if you get no cake?

This article stems from the teachings of Positive Intelligence which I use it in my coaching and mentoring programmes. I also lead 6 week long programmes developed by Shirzad Chamine focusing on our saboteurs, sage and growing mental muscles. You can take a free assessment of your saboteurs here.

If you are interested and curious to work with me feel free to book a free introductory coaching session with me here.

Disclaimer! Do not forget about your personal borders, which should never be violated. I am not advocating for seeing clearly harmful things (such as domestic violence, be it physical or emotional, abuse or manipulations) in a positive way and thus avoiding protecting yourself. This article is more about everyday things we encounter in our relationships which often generate negative emotions and tensions when it is not really necessary (and not violating anyone’s borders).