We all want and deserve healthier relationships. But do you know the one thing that will ruin, destroy, and completely dismantle any relationship?
It’s probably not what you think. It’s actually something we do very often and don’t think too much about. And that is ASSUMPTIONS.
It is very well known that everyone has automatic thoughts, thoughts that just pop into our heads uninvited. Sometimes these are objective, but a lot of the time they are based on a collection of attitudes and beliefs that we have formed over our life through experiences. Thoughts are never wrong per se, but some are more accurate then others.
If you walk into the room and see a mess on the floor and your mind automatically jumps to “he never picks up after himself,” you are making an assumption. There might be some truth to your judgment, but to behave and make choices on this assumption is dangerous. For healthier relationships, the best way to approach our loved ones, and even our work colleagues, is to come from a place of curiosity. “Hmm… I wonder why the mess is still on the floor?” When we are curious we allow for other perspectives to exist. Instead of creating a story based on our personal reality, we allow space for the other to exist.
“Hey honey, I noticed that you left all your clothes on the floor yesterday….is everything ok?”
This in turn might get you the following unexpected response..
“Yes, you’re right they are still on the floor. I was on my way to work in the morning when I tripped and hurt my ankle so I was having trouble walking and couldn’t bend down to pick them up. I know it frustrates you when things are on the floor, so I will take care of that today.”
A lot of couples therapy focuses on becoming aware that there is another perspective. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is also a commonly used strategy to help us challenge our thinking so that we can filter out our inaccurate thoughts. The beauty of judging favorably, abstaining from jumping to conclusions, and asking ourselves if our thoughts are 100% true, is a great catalyst to being more open to understanding how our partners or friends might be experiencing their own reality.
This creates much healthier relationships.
Leah Weisberg, RN BScN BC-NC
Leah is a Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse, Psychotherapist and Founder & CEO at Dynamic Health Collaborative. She is passionate about providing mental health services that consider one’s mind, body and relationships. In addition to providing private emotion-focused psychotherapy services, Leah teaches mindfulness classes, leads a team of over a dozen practitioners at her clinic, and collaborates with organizations on creating awareness of emotional and mental health concerns. She can be reached by emailing [email protected]