Can Negativity Be a Good Thing?

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You and your partner may be trying to remove all the negativity that occurs between you.

If so, don’t waste your time.

Now, that would seem like advice that runs contrary to anything that you’ve ever heard or read before.

In this blog, I’ll explain what may at first seem to be beyond explanation.  Then, I’ll give you 2 tips for where you and your partner should place your focus.  Please keep reading…

Surprising Benefits of Negative Interactions

When you and your partner disagree or argue, it probably feels uncomfortable… even unsettling.

That’s good.  It means you may be making progress in your relationship.

When couples try to avoid negativity in their relationship, they are not fully expressing all of the emotions that they are experiencing.

Those emotions have to go somewhere, which means they get tamped down.  So instead, they simmer below the surface and may eventually force their way to the surface in an explosive display of feeling that could really endanger your relationship.

Or, couples work so hard to avoid negativity that they shut off their feelings, and those loving feelings they have for their partner can begin to fade.

John Gottman, a PhD and leading relationship researcher, has some interesting insights based on the myriad of couples with whom he has worked.

For one, relationships should be open to the full gamut of emotions… and that includes the negative ones.  To think we’re always going to walk around in a state of bliss with our partner isn’t realistic… or even human.

We’re not Stepford Wives (or Husbands), and therefore, we should not try to ward off emotions that make us feel comfortable.  We should express those emotions… appropriately… so they don’t build up and cause bitterness and resentment.

Also, a healthy relationship allows for disagreement and even the occasional bout of anger.  It shows you have passion for the relationship and are still willing to move it forward… even when you are feeling uncomfortable.

Think of negativity as a grain of sand in an oyster shell.  Eventually, the oyster creates a pearl out of the grain of sand.  Negativity can be looked at the same way… at some point, you and your partner will work through any source of irritation and make something good out of it.

Here are 2 tips for what you and your partner should be focusing your energy on instead…

Tip #1: Appropriate Expression of Emotion

You and your partner are going to get angry with each other, or feel disappointed.  It happens, you’re human, accept it.

The only guideline for how to handle those emotions is to express them in an appropriate way.  Throwing things and slamming doors may not be your best bet, nor is bottling up your emotions until you explode.  You’re much more likely to express emotions inappropriately if you try to tamp them down.

Instead, tell your partner what you’re feeling: “I’m angry with you for forgetting our anniversary.  It really disappointed me, because it made me feel that you didn’t care about me!”

This way, it’s out there, and you and your partner can work through whatever his issue is.

Tip #2: Outweighing Negativity with Positive Interactions

It’s important that you focus your energy on having positive interactions instead of trying to avoid ever feeling angry or disgruntled.

If you have a negative interaction, you and your partner can heap sand on it with positive interactions, aiming to weigh down the negative interaction with so much positivity that your relationship becomes ever stronger.

My best to you in expressing negativity and reaching for a greater number of positive interactions.