Relationships that lend value to our life are important for our overall well-being and happiness, and the quality of our role in these relationships is what matters most.
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.” ~Barbara de Angelis
When a relationship hits a rough patch, we often look at the other person and emphasize all the things that are annoying as if those traits are at fault. The reality is we should be looking at our behaviors because that is all we can control…
Here are 7 ways to become a better partner in your relationship:
1. Leave the Relationship Baggage Behind You
We all have baggage. Whether it’s the expectations we bring with us from childhood or experiences from past relationships, baggage prevents us from realizing the true potential of our current relationships.
Everyone at one time or another has felt lonely, empty or inadequate. No matter what we have, something always seems to be missing. The way out is to get to know the real you. Become comfortable having a relationship with yourself first, and everything else will begin to take care of itself.
2. Argue for the Other Side
When we get into a disagreement, it is usually because one person has one opinion, and the other has the opposite. When we argue our position, we look for evidence to support our point of view, and we keep looking until we feel we can “win.”
Imagine what would happen if you switched sides? Instead of gathering evidence to support your point of view, start gathering evidence to support the other side of the story.
It’s fair to say that both sides of any argument will have valid points, and if you wanted to, you could argue either side. As you start to make the case for the opposite side, you can usually see that there is some validity to the opposing position. In fact, you will be amazed at how convincing you can be – so convincing that you might find yourself on a road that leads to the end of the argument altogether.
3. React Less
In the midst of emotional situations, it is a natural reaction to overreact. It is easy to see when the other person is overreacting. However, we are not as likely to recognize own overreactions.
Our actions develop based on how we feel. And sometimes, we have big feelings which cause some big actions. Reacting less doesn’t mean ignoring or minimizing problems, just controlling our reaction to them. The key to reacting less is choosing to act based on how we want to feel, not how we feel.
4. Stop Complaining, Start Exclaiming
The average person complains between 15 and 30 times per day. That’s a lot of complaining, and almost everyone is guilty. Of course, eliminating the need to complain is easier said than done. First, you have to recognize and understand what you are complaining about. Once you understand why you are complaining, you have two courses of action: You can accept the situation, or you can change it.
Once you’re ready to change what you were complaining about, start exclaiming what you are going to do about it – and follow through. When you repeat powerful positive mantras that train your brain to create thoughts, words, and ultimately actions, you’ll quickly bring about change in the areas you were once complaining about.
5. Find Favor
The Benjamin Franklin Effect takes on the assumption that we do nice things for people we like and bad things to those we dislike. The psychology behind the effect, however, says the opposite, which is we grow to like people when we do nice things for them.
In a nutshell, asking and receiving a favor generates good feelings on both sides. Want to eliminate negative feelings and establish good rapport? Don’t hesitate to ask them for a favor, and certainly don’t be afraid to provide one yourself.
6. Sweat your small stuff
Common advice for relationships is to “stop sweating the small stuff.” A little sweating of the small stuff in relationships can be a good thing – when it’s your stuff you’re focusing on, instead of your partners’.
There are plenty of things your partner does that annoy you: Leaving their laundry on the floor, not turning off their phone during dinner or forgetting to take out the trash – every day. Now think about all the little things you do that may annoy your partner. It’s these tiny annoyances that can build and create real conflict in a relationship.
So instead of taking the “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude, try sweating some of your small stuff for a while and watch the annoyances from your partner subside.
7. Sleep on it
Let’s face it. We are not getting enough sleep. When we are sleep deprived, we overreact, make poor decisions and have a hard time finding balance – all things that can lead to tensions in a relationship.
How many times have you overreacted when you are tired? When we are well-rested, we keep our emotions in check and think better on our feet. Sleep is one of our most underrated tools when it comes to living a happier life, so get more of it.