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The Positive Perspective

If you’ve been following along in this series of blogs focusing on the Sound Relationship House founded by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, we are currently on the 4th floor/level of the house: the positive perspective. 

`The positive perspective essentially means having a positive mindset and being in Positive Sentiment Override (PSO). It can influence problem-solving, repair attempts when in conflict resolution, as well as impact how you view your partner. 

When we look at two separate relationships, let’s identify some differences:

When Leslie’s partner leaves in the morning without saying goodbye or kissing her cheek, she spends time thinking about how insensitive her partner is and how she feels she does not care about her. 

Andy realizes his partner did not put away the dishes like he said she was going to do. Andy recognizes that this is probably not intentional and that his partner simply forgot or had something else she had to do that took priority in that moment. He decides to let it go and have a conversation with his partner if he feels it continues.

Are you able to spot the differences in the two situations and how they think about the intentions of their partner? 

It can be easy to assume the worst at times and view your partner and their behaviors in a negative light, but the difference it can make in assuming the best and that they have positive intentions, can make a world of difference within the relationship. The overall lens that you view your relationship through can be either positive or negative, and it’s up to you to focus on having whatever mindset you choose. 

While we can understand and recognize that it’s important to have a positive perspective within the relationship, it can still be a lot easier said than done. Here are a few things you and your partner can try to implement more into your daily lives to ensure you both are focusing on the positive perspective in a multitude of ways.

It’s important to be influenced by your partner, let them influence you, as well as feeling like you are influencing them in some way. While this is another part of a level of the Sound Relationship House that we will dive further into in a future blog, it’s important to accept your partner in all things, especially with things we cannot change. By accepting our partner, we are letting them influence us, even if originally we did not see their point of view or truly understood where they were coming from. By being influenced by your partner and in turn, influencing them, it can be a lot easier to initially react by trying to assume the positive perspective. 

If you have read the blog regarding sharing fondness and admiration, or even if you haven’t, you may know how important it is to express that with your partner and share how much you appreciate them. At the heart of having a positive perspective lies a deep sense of appreciation for our partner. It involves acknowledging their strengths, virtues, and unique qualities that drew us to them in the first place. By focusing on what we appreciate and what we admire about them, it’s easier for us to foster an environment of warmth and affirmation and focus on strengthening the bond between you two.

In every relationship, there are going to be conflicts, disagreements, and obstacles, even in the healthiest relationships. However, the positive perspective can help to reframe these challenges and difficulties as opportunities for growth and mutual understanding. Instead of viewing conflicts as potential threats to the overall relationship, we see them as catalysts for deeper communication and compromise. We can view them as opportunities to utilize our skills and practice shifting our mindset on the positive perspective when our initial reaction may be the opposite.

Gratitude can be a powerful force that can turn even the most mundane moments into sources of joy and contentment. Gratitude and positivity can be the difference between letting one small moment ruin the day, or allowing ourselves to accept what happened and what we cannot change and move on from it. By embracing a positive perspective, we allow ourselves to see joy and positivity for the small gestures, the everyday miracles, and the love that permeates our lives. This gratitude can help fuel our happiness and deepen our connection with our partner.

When we approach our relationships with a positive perspective, we cultivate resilience in the face of adversity. It’s a choice we can make every day, to see the best in our partners, to empathize with their struggles, and to cherish the moments of joy and connection you share. By embracing this perspective, we allow ourselves to work towards and have the relationship we want and deserve. 

Ask yourself: how do you view things within your relationship? How can you choose to see your partner, and the world, through a more positive lens? 

Written by,

Emily Blair, ALMFT



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