3. Appreciation

How many times a day are we reminded (by ourselves or others) that we have fallen short, are not good enough, didn’t do this right, or simply forgot to do something. Too often, right? Not only are we presented with the negative way more than the positive, but our brains are wired, naturally, to pick up on, hold on to, and remember the negative way more than the positive.

During a job review, if your boss/supervisor gives you your review and shares four things that you are awesome at, then shares one thing that they would like you to work on. What do you leave that review focusing on? That’s right, the thing they want you to work on. Whether you are defending it in your head, coming up with examples where it doesn’t fit, or times when you did it exactly as they wanted you to. Or, rather than justifying your actions, you may be criticizing yourself for sucking. Either way – the criticism is the focus.

Research suggests that the human brain is preset to focus on the negative for survival. To vanquish a negative comment, we need 5 positive comments to even the score. That is how much weight those negative comments hold. We get enough negative from society, work, social media, we don’t need it from those closest to us.

Instead, focus on appreciation. Start letting your partner know what you appreciate about them. Do this for yourself too – it helps with self esteem. When you start self-criticising, stop and replace it with a positive mantra. (example – “Dang, I did it wrong again, I suck…. Pause, replace with positive mantra I’ve got this, I can do it, everybody makes mistakes). By focusing on appreciation and positivity it can change your mindset. It can also change the physical structure of your brain, and your view of yourself and your relationship. That’s when it becomes a natural instinct rather than a conscious action.

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