This is a simple question. In fact, it is the simplest of questions but for some reason it is so challenging for us to answer. Honestly, really think about it for a second. We are so much more skilled at answering what we don’t want than we are at discussing what we do want.
In relationships this is a significant problem. We must develop the ability to articulate what we want so we can subsequently let our partners know when they are making us happy and engaged in a behavior that is advantageous to the relationship. It just shocks me how easy it is for us to get this very basic and simple idea wrong, how often we allow negative feedback loops to erode our relationships.
When I was in graduate school working on my PhD, I had a professor that would always say, “we cannot, not communicate”. This means that we are always sending some sort of message to our partners. So if we are not good at discussing the positive parts of our lives together, then guess what the default becomes, that’s right, the negative. This is not productive and tears down even the strongest of couples.
So please, develop to the ability to focus on what is desired and not what is not desired. This makes the conversations heavily laced with praise and compliments and not criticism and insults. The impact of that is immeasurably positive.
Elliott E. Connie
Psychotherapist, Author, Speaker