When we talk about children and their development, we often discuss the importance of reinforcing good behavior. We want to celebrate what kids have done well vs spending all our time focusing on what hasn’t. Why do we do this? Not just because it is good to celebrate kids successes, but also because we often do more of the things that we get recognition for.
When did we stop realizing that adults operate in a lot of the same ways? In our relationships we can get caught up in consistently reminding our partners about the things they aren’t doing well or the things we want to have changed. It isn’t that by reminding them it makes them do it more, but rather it can cause people to withdraw in their relationship and try to disengage as a way of protecting themselves and/or not rock their relationship boat. The pattern can create a pursue and withdraw dynamic that can at times be hard to break out of.
Wouldn’t we all like our partners to do more of the things we like? When we give our partners positive feedback, however, on the things we want them to keep doing it can create a positive feedback loop where they feel good about themselves for making you feel great and therefore they want to keep doing the good behavior. Wouldn’t it be great if our partner did more of what we love?
You are the first catalyst in helping to make this happen. By sharing with your partner the great things he/she is doing and the impact it has on you (vs just happily but silently soaking it in) you will be able to soak up that joy that much more often.
What are some things your partner does that make you feel great? Let me know in the comment section below.