Happiness and Relationships

What would happen at work if you found things to feel happy about and talked them up with your fellow employees? My bet is that you’d soon see people scattering right and left as you entered the office. You’d be regarded as a bit of a nutjob: “What’s that guy so happy about?” For some reason in our society, it’s more acceptable to complain than it is to appreciate.

The tendency to find fault is also what ruins many relationships.

For example, Jill has a boyfriend with seven good qualities and three irritating ones. She has two choices: concentrate on the seven good qualities, or try to change the three bad ones (or just ditch the guy). Jill decides that she really likes Jack and that it doesn’t matter that he has some irritating habits. So she concentrates her attention on his good qualities (don’t laugh ladies. My wife has been doing that for 45 years). She praises Jack’s good qualities, and the more she concentrates on those, the more of those he exhibits when he is around her (Jack might act like a total prick to someone else, but that is the dance of vibrational matching he is doing with others). The law of 'like attracts like' guarantees that the more Jill focus on Jack’s good qualities, the more these qualities show themselves in Jill’s interaction with him. Soon, Jack’s three bad qualities hardly ever appear in Jill’s relationship.

If Jill is like a lot of people, however, she tries to change Jack’s three irritating qualities. She thinks to herself, “He’s THAT close to being perfect.” So on football Sundays she complains that he spends too much time in front of the TV set. After dinner, she hounds him to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them out for her to clean up. And she always scolds him for leaving the toilet paper rack empty and the toilet seat up.

“But it’s irritating!” Jill cries when Jack tells her to stop complaining. How can I get him to change if I don’t remind him! she thinks. In the back of her mind she thinks, “If he really liked me he’d do what I ask; it’s not that hard. I’m not requesting the moon here!”

Jill’s idea is that if Jack changes his behavior, she could be a lot happier. Unfortunately, all that does is focus her attention on Jack’s irritating characteristics. Jill is not perfect either (sorry ladies) and Jack begins to find fault with her as well. Soon the unacceptable stuff begins to dominate their relationship and the two break up.

I am speaking from experience. My wife and I have been happily married for 45 years, and it’s pretty easy. We just notice each other’s good qualities and compliment each other when we see them. “Thanks for cleaning up the kitchen, honey,” I say. “I love you.” “I noticed how great the yard looks,” she tells me. “Thanks for cutting the grass and whacking those weeds.” “I like that blouse you’re wearing today.” Seriously, I’m not making this up. It’s what we do every day.

It’s the little daily acknowledgments we give each other that makes our lives pleasant. And when we feel the need to whine, we listen to each other. Funny thing, the urge to whine gets less the more we look to the positive stuff, but sometimes you just have to bitch. Listening to someone complain can get tiresome, but we both know it won’t last too long.

It aint rocket science. If you notice the good stuff every day you’d be amazed how the irritating stuff disappears and harmony is established. And if you can’t do this, or don’t feel like doing it, maybe you need another partner!

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