Transform Your Toxic Relationships
Do you get down on yourself for not being more sociable at dinner parties? Would you like your wife or husband to be more ambitious? Could your mom be less embarrassing and act her age? Would you prefer your son stop telling such corny jokes?
Judgments like these, even if you keep them to yourself, are like a poison that seeps into relationships.
As humans we are far more sensitive to the reactions of others than we realize. Our tone of voice, the look in our eyes, our facial expressions, our breathing—they all change and create a field of negativity or positivity that, over time, can permeate our relationships and either poison them or build them up.
It doesn’t matter what the thought is, it doesn’t matter if the thought is true or false. If it’s negative, the effect on your relationship is going to be poisonous. Once you realize this, how do you stop being so judgmental?
The first thing to do is to label the thought as poison, even if it seems innocuous. Then you need to replace the negative judgment with a positive image of the person you're judging. Remind yourself of their positive attributes—literally think of these and make a list in your mind. You may also want to think of a positive memory you have with that person.
Your mind will return to negativity—that’s just how it works. So in order to have healthy relationships, you’ll need to continually label your judgments and replace them with a more positive vision over and over. It may sound like a lot of work, but it becomes habitual over time and will make your relationships a happier and healthier.
Adapted from Three Tools To Unpoison Relationships by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels on goop.com.