We all use labels to categorize things. This is very human. When we learn our language we start by putting words to name things so we remember how to describe what we see.
This also applies to how we treat the people we are in relationship with. If we love our partner then we probably see them in favorable terms like: sweetheart, dear, baby, etc.. The same type of labeling occurs however when we are upset with them.
Labels Not Only Describe Beliefs, but Reinforce Them Too
We might call them: lazy, irresponsible, uncommunicative, stupid or mean. This is pretty common too. But if we attach to the difficult labels, then that is all we see in our mate. We might begin to just say, “He is always forgetful.” Or something like that.
Think about it. If you call your mate something like that, what does it do to the way you see them? I know if I were to say the word “difficult” about someone, then I would feel a tightening in my stomach and a hard feeling about that person.
When we label things that we don’t like, we not only give them a word that describes our discomfort, we give ourselves a feeling of discomfort as well. This is pretty standard with human behavior.
Refresh Your Language to Refresh Your View
I was reading a story recently about a woman who ran a resort center. She thought of the kitchen as “a disaster” and “dirty.” She couldn’t see it any other way. But when she left the center on a trip she asked herself if she could possibly see the kitchen as “clean and fresh.”
These were just different words for the same kitchen, but the words “clean and fresh” gave her a lift, instead of the words “disaster” and “dirty” which made her depressed. She found a whole new experience in the kitchen when she returned.
Experiment with Changing Labels to Heal Your Perspective
Maybe you can think about what you call your mate. If you call them something that isn’t that nice, do you get a feeling attached to it? This feeling might even separate you from your partner because you just don’t want to be near them when you feel this feeling.
It’s worth thinking about. The more we experiment with labels, the easier it becomes to see through them. We might even begin to use them to our advantage. We will always use them to communicate but we might find ourselves becoming kinder with our descriptions of our mates.
Remember, we love them good, bad and indifferent. We always love them. Find a word or label that reflects your love. You might be surprised how fresh and clean it might begin to feel.
Embrace the Language That Makes Relationships Flourish!
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how to kindly and lovingly communicate with your partner by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you work through difficulties and reinforce the love you share. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.