Do you focus more on the negative than the positive?
Can you find a million things to complain about but only a few things to praise?
Do you find yourself constantly complaining and it annoys even you?
If so, don’t beat yourself up about it. It is, after all, a perfectly normal human tendency. If you’re walking through the woods and you step on a wildflower, no big deal. If, however, you step on a rattlesnake, BIG deal. So, in effect, we are wired to pay more attention to the negative. Missing it could mean the difference between life and death.
While generally in our lives, it’s not nearly that extreme, the reality is…well…negativity bias is a reality. We do, by nature, pay more attention to the negative. In fact, negative word-of-mouth spreads about nine times faster than positive word-of-mouth.
We know it is a part of who we–as humans–are.
We do not, however, have to accept it as status quo.
This is one time where putting on our rose-colored glasses will serve us well.
Some of you may argue, “Why does it matter? Our mates should know what we like and dislike about them.” True. I don’t disagree. If you are complaining about something egregious that you cannot live with, I say go for it. Get it out in the open. If it’s a discussion you’re having, not in the form of a complaint, by all means, please talk about.
If, however, you are incessantly complaining (a.k.a. nagging) or nitpicking, which is what the majority of our complaints are, try on the proverbial rose colored glasses. We should all keep a pair handy.
If focusing on negativity did not have a detrimental effect on our relationships, I would say, “Keep doing it.” However, it makes the other person closed and distant and less comfortable being who they are in front of us. Have you ever noticed how some couples, when they hang out, actually prefer to hang out with other people than with their spouse (as in, prefers that the spouse not be there)? That’s because they are not comfortable being who they are in front of their spouse in that setting. They may drink a little too much, say something a little off-color, talk a little too loudly…all traits that the spouse may complain about but the friends have come to know and love.
And, let’s be honest. If we voiced every complaint we had about our friends to their faces…well, we’d have a much shorter list of friends.
So, give your mate the same respect.
The next time an unnecessary complaint (i.e., one that does not need to be voiced aloud) about your mate surfaces to your tongue…
Swallow the negativity…
Put on those rose-colored glasses and find the silver lining.