What You Focus on Grows

Whenever we feel a certain way, it seems to snowball if we let it.  When we “wake up on the wrong side of the bed” or are “just having one of those days” we are caught in a trap of negativity.  The same thing goes for how we view our mate, friend, coworker and anyone with whom we relate. 

Once, someone who doesn’t know my husband called him “blonde.” This highly offensive comment was a damaging generalization of how blondes are air-headed and personally offensive to me because my husband is a member of Mensa and the nicest person I know.  That said, I went home that day and everything that he did looked absent-minded to me, it was all that I could see.  That simple comment tainted the rest of my afternoon.

When we have these damaging limits set on our mate, either from the outside or from within, it colors our experience of them. Our frame of mind acts as a filter through which we can only see that for which we are looking.

So here are the lessons that I learned from the above episode:

  1. I got an opportunity to use my words and let the person know that she is not allowed to speak disparagingly of my beloved to me.  She got an opportunity to defend herself, and then our relationship simply and naturally dissolved without animosity.
  2. I got an opportunity to see how what I focused on grew into a monster seemingly beyond my control.
  3. I got to see that only people who are positive about relationships in general and mine specifically get to be in my inner circle of friends. The rest can be acquaintances.

Your Homework

Make a list of all the things that you appreciate in your mate, friend, coworker or family member.  Use “you” not “him/her or he/she”

Nothing is too small.  It can be that they make an effort to smell nice for you, they soak a dish that they can’t get to right away, hold the door open, think about you during the day, make a real effort to be punctual for you, etc.

Write at the top of the list:  “These are some of the many reasons that I appreciate (love, adore, respect etc) you” and read it to the person on whom you focused, if you like.  Definitely read it to yourself, especially when the person is challenging you!

Show appreciation for every little thing you possibly can in the next week. You can do this to EVERYONE that you encounter! “Thanks” “I appreciate” and “You are so awesome” are great words to use.  Find your own language.  My husband and I use “Good job, babe” constantly and it never gets old.  We all love appreciation.


2 Responses to “What You Focus on Grows”
  1. kirsten says:

    This is so funny! Just minutes ago my husband and I were having a conversation about this subject. He was telling me about how everybody he encounters in his job doesn't do his/her job right. I said: " Kind of strange that this seems to happen only to you isn't it? What does this say about your frame of reference or perception?" This question opent up the insight that his frame of mind is mostly that of mismatching.

  2. Sarah, so true – thank you for this wonderful reminder!
    http://jessicavitalis.com Stop Pinching Your Sister! (Practical Parenting Tips Based on My Columbia MBA)

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