This past week I learned a valuable lesson in relationships. Did you know there is a golden rule to keeping balanced relationships at home, at work, and elsewhere. People respond better to positive praise and are more likely to want to do more things right in order to receive more positive praise.
Unfortunately we tend to go straight for the negative or “constructive” criticism when dealing with people in our lives. Does it ever feel like the negative interactions outweigh the positive ones? If so, it can be harder to remember the positive qualities in the relationship and can lead to unhappy, unstable, and disconnected relationships.
For example, let’s say you come home from a day out working and your partner has been home all day with the kids. To you it looks like nothing has been done, the mess has grown exponentially, and dinner has not begun cooking. You feel unappreciated, tired and overwhelmed because you have been working all day for your family’s benefit. They may also feel tired and overwhelmed because they’ve been home taking care of the kids all day. What do you say? Do you find a few positives and thank them for taking care of the kids?
Or do you ask them just what have they been doing all day? And what is all this mess? A negative approach may make them feel unappreciated, while a positive approach may lead to more positive behaviors and interactions.
The Golden Rule for balanced relationships is 5 positive feelings or interactions to every negative one.
Examples of positive interactions are:
- Showing interest, affection, care, concern, appreciation, and acceptance,
- Sharing excitement and joy,
- Spending fun time together
This week choose one relationship to focus on (your partner, a friend, a coworker, an employee, etc) that you want to be in balance with (in other words, to have a stable, happy, and connected relationship). you are going to work on becoming aware of and improve (if needed) your balance between positive and negative feelings and interactions with this person.
Aim for more positive interactions with this person this week. Pay attention to how you and this person interact. Do you find for every negative interaction that takes place that there are many positive interactions in between?
Remember, increasing the number of positive feelings and interactions in your relationship can lead to more happiness, more stability, and more connectedness with that person.
Here’s how you can increase the positive interactions in your relationship:
- Keep track in your notebook of your positive and negative interactions with your chosen person this week.
- At the end of each day, review the interactions you had and categorize them as either negative or positive.
- At the end of the week, look back at the past week’s interactions and see how the negative and positive interactions balanced out.
- Do you need to increase the amount of positive feelings and interactions with this person?
- In a few weeks, try journaling again to see if your relationship is closer to achieving that Golden Rule of 5 to 1.
I hope these tips help you to find more stable, happy, and connected relationships!
What are some ways you find more balance in your relationships? Please like my page and tell us how you find more balance in your relationships.
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