Change Your Attitude
"A baby is born with a need to be loved--and never outgrows it"
Frank Howard Clark
Is your relationship dull and boring? Is it supposed to be ‘dull and boring’, because you’ve been together for so long? Do you have nothing of any consequence to say to each other? If you respect each other and enjoy each other’s company, there’s always something to say. Verbal communication and understanding the other’s moods and temperament, is the key to a good relationship. This takes work, but it’s worth it.
That’s the topic of the February newsletter: “ Brightening a Dull Relationship.”
Minimize the Negative
Instead of focusing on the bad stuff, take a more positive approach. Nothing and no one is totally bad. Look at the big picture. Find humor in the situation. Look at the good. Negatively will only make a bad situation worse.
We teach our children to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Be sure you give the same courtesy to your partner. In our busy worlds, we can easily forget to acknowledge the small stuff. Little gestures of kindness go a long way.
No matter how long you’ve been together, you can still have fun. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should do an ‘activity’ like tennis or golf. I’m talking about being playful – doing the type of things you did when you first met – joke with each other, have fun and don’t take things so seriously. Playfulness is all part of/a healthy relationship.
Don’t be competitive which each other. When you’re a couple, and one of you is successful, so are both of you. Encourage each other. Encouragement will keep you together. Envy tears you apart.
Reach back into your memory bank and find the qualities that you liked about your partner in the first place. These qualities are often the ones that are lacking in ourselves. Ex. Your partner may be more patient and understanding. Remember these qualities with admiration, and if they’re not here today, find out what changed.
Pay attention to your partner. Take a serious look at them -- I’m not talking about looking at their bodies, or the superficial stuff. Notice their gestures, their smile, their personality – these little things are not so little. The more positive attention we pay to our partners, the more appreciation and respect we can have.
Stevie Wonder said it best “ I just called to say I love you”. Listen to those lyrics. -- no special occasion like Valentines Day, is necessary – and you don’t have to be a ‘hopeless romantic’ either -- a call, an e-mail, a text, a post-it note. You never need a reason to say those little words.
Remember that when you’re in a relationship you’re a member of a team. If one of you is stressed or overloaded with work for whatever reason, the other person can always do something to help lighten the load. Sometimes, you can pitch in and make supper, or do laundry, at other times, simply listening is all that it takes to let someone know that you’re there for them.
I’m not talking about sex here, (although intimacy and sex often go together). Hold a hand, a touch, a warm smile or quick hug – these gestures provide the feeling of closeness and intimacy. The message that’s sent is ‘you’re special’.
Intimacy is so important, many seek it by having an /emotional affair.
When there are problems in a relationship, we can always see what he or she should have done to make things better. It’s easy to see the other person’s responsibility. Shift /your way of thinking. Ask yourself what you could have done differently. When you change the way you’ve been acting, others change as well. This advice is not for / codependent relationships
Take care of your emotional needs so you can keep a positive outlook on life. You can’t brighten your relationship with have a negative outlook on life?
1) Minimize negativity
2) Show gratitude
4) Have fun
5) Be supportive
5) Show admiration
6) Be emotionally present
7) Say It
8) Share responsibility
10) Look within yourself
“I’m such a loser”, "I’ll never be any good”, “I’m so stupid”, “No one will love me”. How often do you tell yourself you’re not good enough, or judge yourself to be inadequate?
How you think about yourself reflects on what you do. So this year, resolve to act differently -- develop a new attitude for 2010 – this would be a wonderful gift to yourself.
That’s the topic of the January Newsletter: How To Develop A New Attitude.
How we think about ourselves usually stems from childhood. A child hears adults say: “You’re so pretty” “You’re too fat” “You’re stupid” and similar remarks. Positive comments lead to confidence and esteem. But when you are told you’re not good enough, or you notice that you’re not measuring up to the standards around you, you develop negative beliefs about your capabilities. These thoughts are automatic.
When you judge yourself harshly, your self-esteem and confidence takes a downward turn. And, if you lose confidence in a particular area of your life, it can transfer into other areas as well.
When you stay in your comfort zone, you become fearful of getting out. This creates stress when demands are made on you. You tell yourself, “I can’t”, “I don’t want to do this”, “I’ll make an idiot of myself” – that type of thing. These negative messages not only lead to stress, but you can actually make yourself sick with worry.
Just as you encourage others to be positive or to take on new ventures, you also have to encourage yourself. I often use the example of a skier in an important race. Would skiers be thinking ‘I’m not as good as the other racers’, 'I know I’m going to lose'. You bet they’re not. They’re totally focused on winning the race – whether they’re capable of accomplishing it or not.
Notice what you say to yourself and change it. It's as simple as this example: You forgot your keys and you tell yourself “I’m an idiot!! How could I be so stupid”. Think of what you're saying. You don’t have to call yourself 'stupid'. Everyone forgets things occasionally (and if you forget more than most, develop a habit of putting things in the same place, or check before you leave the house). The keys won’t magically appear because you call yourself names. Frustration is a normal reaction, but once you've dealt with the issue, move on.
You can be particularly vulnerable to automatic thinking if you have
addictive personality traits
If you’re presented with a challenge, take it on. Don’t tell yourself anything
or say "I can’t", "I shouldn’t", "I’ll never…". It will only set you back.
If you want to develop a new attitude, and gain self-esteem, take on new challenges. We learn from experiences but we also learn from failure, so don't give yourself excuses for taking on new challenges. Give yourself the opportunity to change .
Tips for Attitude Change
1) Notice when you judge yourself or others
2) Ask yourself when these judgments started
3) Encourage yourself with your successes
4) Shift from frustration to trusting yourself
5) Give up being a victim of your own abuse
6) Don’t compare yourself with others
7) Don’t guess what others are thinking about you
8) Recognize your strengths and build on them
9) Don’t envy others. Be grateful for what you have
10)Open yourself to the new experiences.
If you don’t try something new, don't expect yourself change. So this year, give yourself the gift of changing your attitude.
Q & A
What is your impression of how substance abuse can be viewed as a coping mechanism and of an underlying family issue. I have several alcoholics in my family. They all deny they have a "problem".
Answer: Hi LiAnne,
The common view of substance abuse is that there's no single reason for it. Substance abuse has three components:
Biological -- there may be a genetic predisposition (alcoholic parent, grandparent etc)
Psychological—ex. you believe that 'drinking is fun' etc.
Social – ex. if your friends and/or family members use substances, you become one of the crowd.
There is also no one reason that alcoholics will drink. They'll drink to take the edge off or cope. They'll drink to celebrate. They'll drink when they're angry, sad etc. Anything can be a trigger. They are escaping life temporarily, but their issues don't go away.
Alcoholics don't want to admit that drink controls them. They tell themselves, they can stop 'anytime'. They have a love/hate relationship with the drink, and blame everyone and everything for the reason they drink. They may also surround themselves with other drinkers, telling themselves that compared to their friends 'they are not that bad'. This is denial, which keeps the addiction.
A partner, family members, the police, their doctor etc., must give them an ultimatum -- they have no choice to stop drinking. Children of alcoholics also have
traits that you should be aware of
Just remember however, that the alcoholic will remain in denial unless they’re confronted with the consequences of their behavior. If there was an alternative, an alcoholic would choose not to change. Stand firm in your beliefs, but you can't make them change.
I hope this answers your question
If you have a question or a suggestion
Here's how to contact me
Next month: How To Perk Up Your Relationship
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