Do you know any annoying people?
I have some friends who, while I’m sure they love each other dearly, continuously bicker when they’re together and moan about each other when they’re apart.
Maybe you know people like this?
It can be tiring to be around such folk because they relentlessly focus on what’s wrong — with the other person, with the relationship, with the situation.
What do you focus on?
I know, and I expect you do too, that we tend to get more of what we focus on — no matter whether that’s good or bad. So by focusing on what we believe is problem behaviour, we’ll tend to notice more of what’s wrong. Fortunately, the opposite is also true; that by focusing on what we love, we’re prone to see more of that.
If you want to see, hear and feel more of the things you love about your partner, friends, children or colleagues, try appreciating the aspects of their personality that you like or admire. While you can effect changes by just doing this in your head, I’ve found it’s much more powerful to do it out loud.
Tell the person concerned what you appreciate
Also let them know your reasons. For example; “I really appreciate your lovely smile, it lights up your whole face, and I can’t help but smile back.” Or, “Thank you so much for washing-up tonight, it meant I could relax a little after what has been a hard day.” Or, “I felt really frustrated when I got stuck in traffic and was late for work. Just knowing you understood made me relax and leave all the stress behind.”
Don’t worry if you get a surprised or sarcastic response.
If you’re not used to talking in this way, then the people you are addressing are likely to be a little suspicious of your motives. Continue on anyway and then notice how they begin behaving differently over time. You’ll get more of the things you appreciate. And while you’re focusing on the things you like, there’s less time to think about the things you don’t like. You might even get some compliments in return, or notice others appreciating you for who you are instead of complaining about possible bad habits.
Why does this work?
By objectively searching for things you like and enjoy about another person, you’re setting the Reticular Activating System (RAS) at the back of the brain. Read more about the RAS
You’ve got nothing to lose except possibly some less-than-satisfying relationships and ongoing stress.