Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Negative Attention Is Better Than None

Negative attention is better than none. We parents know what that means when we think of disciplining our children. How does this concept apply in our adult relationships?

When we are dealing with our partner we may need to set boundaries in certain areas of our lives as a part of self care. We do so in a loving way, letting our partner know that we value them and our relationship. Many times when we set a new boundary we will get change back messages telling us that our partner is not readily accepting this new development. There may be refusal to go along as well as much complaining.

If we have been practicing self care and using our tools we are prepared for this eventuality and may expect that it will happen. We lovingly keep our word and allow our partner time to adjust to the new boundary. During this time it is imperative that we ignore the negative attention that change back messages engender and respond with support to the positive actions our partner takes in beginning to show acceptance. We must remember that change is difficult for us as well and give our partner the time needed to absorb what has happened.

As time passes and the relationship once again begins to settle within the new boundaries, we show our appreciation for the changes our partner has made. We give them the approval they deserve to feel valued for their contribution to the relationship in accepting this new situation. It is vital to the health of our relationship that we acknowledge the difficulty that we all experience in dealing with change, reinforcing the positive behaviors of our partner and ignoring the negative whenever possible.

We all experience change as a difficult and wrenching time we would rather not have to encounter. Life hold few guarantees, but one of them is that change will occur. Our ability to accept change and acknowledge how difficult that acceptance is for others, gives us humility. It reminds us that we are all human, capable of inflexibility and myopic vision. Accepting change requires that we become more flexible and open our view to include new ideas in our lives.

As we learn to set new boundaries in our daily lives, we practice self care and use our tools to strengthen our resolve against change back messages. We increase our self esteem as we continue to live according to our inner values. In this way we give ourselves the gift of humility.

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