Using Negativity as a Positive Reinforcement Negativity can be a killer if you don’t know how to properly channel its effects. Instead, use the negativity you feel as a catalyst for change and watch your marriage grow. BY DR. NOELLE NELSON
Negativity is something you can use in your marriage when you are attuned and can read it properly.
“ Handling negativity appropriately doesn't mean pushing all negativity out of your life forever, it means learning how to use negativity so it contributes positively to your life.”
Identify theft is real, and it is awful. But there is a worse thief that lurks in the secret recesses of our private thoughts. And that person is called, the "Joy Thief."
Negativity is the name of the "Joy Thief’s" game, and it is a deadly one.
The Joy Thief, when allowed into our hearts, can ruin the best of marriages—the joy that is our natural birthright, whether it come from the beauty of a sunset, the glow of pride from a job well done or the warmth of a smile. All these pale and turn cold when negativity overwhelms our lives.
Negativity, in its place, is healthy and helpful to an aware life. Negativity is what makes us ask questions, look twice at things, weigh the evidence and take precautions in our own best interest. Negativity becomes the Joy Thief’s game when it takes over the majority of your thoughts and feelings. At that point it loses its value as an "approach with caution" helper, and turns into a "don't/can't/won't do/be anything right" hinderer!
So handling negativity appropriately doesn't mean pushing all negativity out of your life forever, it means learning how to use negativity so it contributes positively to your life.
For example, the negative thought that your spouse is spending an awful lot of late nights at the office can be a beneficial wake-up call, an opportunity to look at the present quality of your relationship. Are you expressing appreciation to your spouse for the goodness he/she brings to your life on an ongoing basis? Are you communicating your interest in his/her work? Do you set time aside to be together simply to talk, share your thoughts and dream future goals? Or has your marriage devolved into what the Parisians call "metro-boulot-dodo" as in "freeway-work-sleep?"
Allowing negative thoughts of too-many-late-nights to overwhelm your thoughts and feelings however, has a very different effect. The Joy Thief is then on a rampage, easily plunging you into depression or paranoia. You think your spouse must be having an affair or at the very least has lost interest in your marriage. You can think of nothing else, and wrapping yourself in your misery, turn to unhealthy behaviors. Your fights turn nasty and bitter. Your marriage then takes a downward turn as you fulfill your own dire prophecy.
Don't let the Joy Thief steal your happiness! Keep negativity in perspective, as a warning, a motivator, a catalyst for change; and free yourself to enjoy a healthy marriage blessed with the love you so richly deserve.
Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books, including "Your Man is Wonderful" and "Dangerous Relationships." Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. For more, visit www.noellenelson.com and follow her on Twitter @DrNoelleNelson and Google+.