Positive thinking is a way of manipulating your own thinking to eliminate counterproductive thoughts and attitudes and replace them with productive, positive thoughts. This can result in both physical and psychological benefits over time. If you apply it appropriately, it can also result in a great enhancement of the quality of your relationship.
Positive thinking is a simple way to transform your relationship. The basic premise of this idea is that most human unhappiness arises from unproductive thinking patterns. Your task as an aspiring positive thinker is to develop a moment-by-moment awareness of your thinking patterns, identify negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive thinking. Thinking patterns include not only verbal thinking patterns, but also images as well.
The first step in positive thinking is to make a habit of asking yourself "What am I thinking right now?" at various points during the day until your "meta-awareness" of your own thinking becomes second nature to you. Step two is to learn about negative thinking patterns such as filtering, catastrophizing, polarizing and personalizing. The final step is to create new, positive thinking patterns to replace negative ones and to intervene in your own thinking patterns to replace the negative with the positive. At more advanced levels, you can use techniques such as creative visualization to change your mental imagery.
Once you have become proficient in positive thinking, you can begin to apply it to your relationship. One of the techniques that has been found to work is idealization of your partner. Happy couples tend to have higher opinions of each other than each one does of themselves. To a limited degree, giving your partner more credit for positive character traits than he feels he deserves will improve your relationship, especially if your partner returns the favor.
Investing in Yourself
Concentrate on taking care of themselves, just not at the expense of their partners. The 2013 Help Guide article "Improving Emotional Health" recommends taking care of yourself to improve your relationship with others by prioritizing your emotional health. Join a gym, take a guitar class, quit drinking or perform some other act of loving care toward yourself. This will make you less emotionally dependent on the relationship, removing pressure from both you and your partner.
Everyone has shortcomings, which means everyone needs forgiveness at some point or another. Be liberal with your forgiveness of your partner. One way to do this is to catalog your partner's virtues and think of them whenever your partner wrongs or angers you in some way. As long as your partner's virtues outweigh his shortcomings, forgiveness will come much easier when you put matters in perspective in this way. It may also encourage your partner to extend the same tolerance to your shortcomings.
David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.