How To Ditch Negative Thoughts About Love

heart in chains

Positive thinking isn't something we're born knowing how to do. As we grow into adults, we often learn to expect negative outcomes as a means of protection. As Alisa Bowman, YourTango Expert & author of Project: Happily Ever After, says below: both negative and positive thinking are self-fulfilling prophecies. In relationships, it's easy to fall into a routine of negative expectations, but if it's a positive outcome we're after, it's time to ditch the negative and start practicing positive thinking.

Being positive takes practice.
First, identify the dominant theme of your negative thoughts. For example, "men/women don't respect me," "I am not lovable," "nothing is ever good enough," etc. You will notice when your partner or love interest does something you dislike such as being distant, the theme emerges. You may immediately hear a flood of thinking about not being good enough, which leads to emotions and actions that create disharmony in the relationship.

To stop the pattern, create new supportive beliefs such as "I am good enough," "I am smart," etc. and find a way to get these new ideas to get into your subconscious. 6 Dead-End Dating Patterns—And How To Change Them

Daily hypnosis or meditation can get you to naturally think more positive. You will notice people and events that mirror your new supportive thoughts. If your partner or new love interest seems distant, you won't personalize their actions. You won't project neediness or insecurities, but self-love and joy. If you are single, you will attract more loving partners. If you are married, your partner will seem to magically appreciate you more. All great relationships are formed from the inside out.

Debi Berndt, Therapist/Coach

What's the point of a positive outlook, anyway?
Think about who you would rather spend time with—the Dali Lama or Bill O' Reilly? I'm guessing, regardless of your religion—it's the Dali Lama, and it's because he's so soothing, calm, easy going and happy. Happy people are contagious. So are sad people. What contagion would you rather catch? For me, it's happiness.

Happy people cause us to feel good about them and about ourselves. They also allow us to feel safe. They create a sense of hope and opportunity. They instill confidence. Think about who you would trust for advice. Would you trust a sulky sad person or a bright happy one? You'd trust the happy person because the happy person seems to have stumbled over some elusive secret.

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Study after study has linked positive thinking with happiness and peace of mind. These studies have been done all over the world and on all types of people. They've been conducted by psychologists on people who struggle with depression. They've been conducted by researchers on Buddhist monks who cultivate a happy state of mind as part of their religious practice. The results are all quite consistent—the regular practice of positive thinking leads to happiness and peace of mind.

When you see the world through a negative lens, you react differently to the world. You are more drawn in. You appear colder. You don't smile as much. You don't give as much. You become reserved. You are more fearful—so you protect yourself by keeping things private and by not taking risks. You create your own misery. Negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy that feeds itself.

When you see the world through a positive lens, you smile more. You are warmer. You embrace people. You are more giving. You are more considerate and selfless. You are less fearful, so you take more risks. You do things that draw others to you. People respond to your positivity by feeling positive about you. Positivity is a self-fulfilling prophecy that feeds itself and creates happiness and peace of mind.

Alisa Bowman, Relationship Coach

Can I rewire my negative thoughts about love?
Our brains are designed to search for patterns, particularly when it comes to avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. This works well when we eat at a restaurant, get sick and quickly understand that we shouldn't go back there again. It's a terrible strategy for avoiding pain in seeking a mate or in dealing with conflicts within a relationship: you have an unpleasant fight with your husband about sex/money/time and thereafter you avoid speaking up about your needs even again? Sounds like a recipe for a disaster!

Here's how to counteract our pain avoidance tendencies and intervene in your mind to make sure it doesn't dampen your chances:

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1. The negative experience happens.
For example: you go out on a date, have too much good wine, have sex on the first date and he never calls back.

2. The feelings arise.
You're disappointed. You liked him and wanted it to work. Feel disappointed. Feel upset. For as long as you need to. But don't draw any conclusions. Just feel. (It's harder than you think!)

3. Make meaning of the experience.
Instead of concluding that you shouldn't drink on dates or have sex too soon or that men are dogs or that you are doomed to singledom forever, decide consciously on an explanation that helps you to feel like there are still possibilities. For example: "He isn't for me. I'll find someone who makes me feel great." You may not believe it at first but it's important to separate the emotion from the interpretations of events. A negative interpretation lead to avoidance or any number of self-protective behaviors like not smiling or complaining a lot. 10 Things Men Love About Women

4. Take follow-up action.
It's important to get back out there and be open again to dating or having another tough conversation with your spouse)

Nicolle Zapien, Therapist/Coach

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