ERP 042: What Is The One Thing You Can Do To Move From Relationship Competition To Creativity?
COMPETING IN A RELATIONSHIP Competition is wonderful in many ways. However, when we get stuck in habitual patterns of a competitive mindset, it can bring stress and strain to our lives and romantic relationships. A competitive mindset assumes limited resources and opportunities, resulting in an “I have to get mine” attitude. Being in a competitive mindset can lead to a survival mentality. You begin to think that in order to win, you have to beat others – survival of the fittest. This is also a fear based mindset. When fear sets in, we start to view the world differently. NEGATIVE BASIS From an evolutionary standpoint, humans are prone to having a negative basis. Having a negative basis helps us pay attention to negative and painful events so that we will learn and be more prepared to handle threats. In doing so, we may be able to better protect ourselves. The downside to this negative basis is that it’s easy to overlook our strengths, assets, resources, and opportunities because all of our attention is focused on the negative. When we focus on the negative, it is easy to become reactive and more fearful, responding to situations from a protective and competitive approach. When we emphasize the negative, we miss the whole picture. HOW DO YOU MOVE FROM COMPETITION TO CREATIVITY IN A RELATIONSHIP? How do you begin to shift your mindset? The most personal and profound way that I know is through Gratitude. As we shift our attention to what we are grateful for, we will recognize more positivity for that we have been previously overlooking or ignoring. We will acknowledge more resources and opportunities in our partnership. We will begin to feel more relaxed and more regulated. We feel empowered and less threatened, and we start believing in a more generative outcome. “Abilities wither under faultfinding, blossom under encouragement.” ~ Donald A. Laird EXERCISE FOR WAYS TO BE CREATIVE IN A RELATIONSHIP Start with your own inner universe. Can you think of an area in your love life where you are feeling constricted, competitive, or fearful? Notice how you feel. Now, shift your attention to something you are grateful for. Take a moment to stay with the gratitude. Do you notice a shift? WHAT STOPS US FROM BEING CREATIVE IN A RELATIONSHIP? Cultivating an environment of appreciation often doesn’t come naturally and easily. Many of us do not express appreciation to our partner because: We think it is childish. It feels awkward and unfamiliar. We assume we are stating the obvious. We forget. We think it is cliché. HOW TO SHOW GRATITUDE IN A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP When we share our appreciation in a romantic relationship, it has a powerful impact on others. Appreciation is the expression of gratitude. 5 to 1 John Gottman, a psychologist and researcher, offers a formula for happy relationships. He claims that for every negative expression in a relationship (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive expressions (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude) to counter balance the mindset. Ideas to Express Gratitude in a Relationship: Ask your partner to share one thing they are grateful for and then give one appreciation to them. Get out some paper and pens. Set a timer for 3 mins. Ask your partner to try and come up with 100 things they are grateful for. Then, invite her/him to share one or as many they are comfortable with sharing. MENTIONED The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, by John Gottman (book) If you have a topic you would like me to discuss or a situation you would like me to speak to, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here. Thank you so much for your interest in improving the quality of your romantic relationship! I believe in your success! Also, I would so appreciate your honest rating and review. Please post one by clicking here. Thank you! If you are interested in developing new skills to overcome your relationship challenges, please consider taking the Empowered Relationship Course or getting some relationship coaching.