Changing Our Old Habits

Changing our old habits can make our relationships even more rewarding, so learn like the woman pictured.

Most of us come into our relationship with our old habits. These are the ways we handle getting our feelings hurt and feeling disappointment. If we handle these experiences with grace, then nothing needs to be done.

But most of us don’t. Many of us get really mad at the person who hurt our feelings. Others repress their feelings and appear as if nothing happened, and still others often can’t take the pain of being hurt so they have to leave.

Our Habits Grow Ingrained Over the Course of Our Lives

Repetition ingrains our habits deeply, like a river through stone forming a canyon.

These are habits that have long served us and came into being because we probably needed them when we were young. You see humans are very good at adapting to their surroundings.

We use our habits all through our lives, but when we find our special person, those habits might not be effective anymore. In fact, many of us might even hit a wall wondering why we are in such distress with the one we love.

Working with couples and going through this with my own partner, I understand why this is so difficult. If we have a lifetime of handling our emotions a certain way, well imagine how many times we have used our habit? Thousands of times.

Trying Something Different Can Feel Different Surprisingly Quickly

You might be surprised just how good positive change feels, like the happily surprised man pictured.

It is well in place and has been for a while. But here is the good news. When we try something different, science will tell us that the slightest difference will begin to build new pathways inside our brain and this new pathway will encourage us to try that new behavior again until it becomes our new habit.

And here is some more good news. The minute you do something different, even if you are not very good at it, you will feel different also. And that feeling will likely give you some relief and that relief is something you and your body have been waiting for. This is something you must experience for yourself.

If you see yourself set in a habit that you want to change, that is the first step. Think of what you do when you get hurt, and if you want to do something differently, why not just think in your mind what that would look like. Of course, don’t do this while you are upset. Do this when you are calm.

Be Patient, Consistent, and Kind to Yourself as You Grow

Be kind, patient, and loving with yourself as you work on change.

The more you can tell your brain what your new behavior looks like, the easier it will be for you to find this new way when you are in distress. Building a new habit takes time. Please be patient with yourself as you attempt something new.

Your old habit has had lots of time. It’s OK to be a beginner.

After all, humans are fundamentally good, not fundamentally flawed, and that you can trust about yourself.

Connect with Your Partner

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to more effectively communicate with your partner, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might help both of you feel happier, more loved, and even more connected. 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.

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