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If Opposites Attract, Why Do They Retract?

If Opposites Attract, Why Do They Retract?

Falling in love is easy. But maintaining it can be hard. Let’s take a look at Tim and Lily’s story to see how the sweet love at the beginning becomes frustrating for them.

Tim and Lily are colleagues. They had no trouble falling for one another after meeting in their workplace.

    It all went very well at first but soon they found that they were quite different from each other.

    Opposites retract

    Opposites attract and that’s what helped them get together. But now it’s setting them apart. Little things like booking a table for dinner begin to be an issue.

    Lily wants to book the table just to have peace of mind and not worry about having to wait in line. Tim on the other hand doesn’t see it as such a big deal. If there is a line, they have plenty of other options. Besides, spontaneity can be fun!

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      Punctuality, organization;  these are both grounds for disagreement if they can’t manage to see eye to eye. They love each other, but they are frustrated. Lily can’t understand why Tim doesn’t appreciate the convenience of planning ahead. Tim can’t understand why Lily can’t just go with the flow.

        What they don’t realize is that they are evaluating each other’s behavior based on their own standards and upbringing.

        We are products of our upbringing

        Tim grew up in a loosely disciplined family. As the youngest of three siblings, he had a lot of leniency. He was a smart kid, but he wasn’t exactly the model student nor the best behaved. Regardless, he was very passionate about computer programming. His motivation landed him his dream job as an engineer within a startup company.

        Tim is a free spirit. He goes where his heart leads him and isn’t bound by rules and plans. He is satisfied with his life and a job he likes. He doesn’t see anything wrong with his standards because he is happy with where he is.

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          Lily on the other hand grew up in a strict household. The eldest of her siblings, the pressure to lead by example was always on her. She likes for everything to be planned ahead of time and is very, very organized. She was a straight A student who got into a great university. Eventually she became a product manager in the same startup company as Tim.

          As a very disciplined person, she works hard to ensure that everything goes as planned. She has a good job and is living well, so she is very happy with her life and standards of living.

            Our standards are formed by how we are raised. All families function differently. We are all a product of the environment that we were raised in. How we are raised absolutely defines our standards, so it makes sense that people with different upbringing would have different standards. They are so ingrained in us that we don’t realize that we may judge others for not having the same standards as ourselves.

            What works for you doesn’t works for your partner

            You may not even realize that you’re doing it, but if you are put off by your partners standards, they can pick up on it in your behavior.

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            Since Tim is not punctual, it obviously annoys Lily. Her standoffish behavior is obvious to Tim and he may get offended that she does not vibe with his lifestyle.

              You cannot assume that what works for you is what works for your partner. Your expectations for them to acclimate to your lifestyle puts a burden on them. They will feel pressured to change and perhaps feel that they are not good enough for you as they are.

              Accept, respect, appreciate

              Your life experience is unique to yourself. No one else has had your upbringing, so everyone else has developed differently. What works for you may not work at all for others. It’s important to keep an open mind. Consider how other people may feel and how they may react. If something works better for them, try not to judge. Understand that there are reasons for why they are the way that they are.

                Refrain from judgment, explain instead

                When you see that your partner does things differently than you, ask why. Explain why you do it differently. This way you will have a better understanding of each other.

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                Lily should explain to Tim why is it important for her to plan ahead. In the same respect, Tim should explain why he doesn’t like to micromanage his life. Finding understanding for each other is the key. Respecting each other’s differences will help to lock it down.

                Accept differences, be open to change

                When dealing with different personalities, those differences need to be respected. Lily needs to respect Tim’s spontaneity, while Tim needs to respect Lily’s persistence. These are personality traits that can’t be changed.

                But, they can be adjusted. Compromises need to be made to ensure that the differences don’t take a toll on the relationship. Making these adjustments shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice. A loving partner should be willing to make these changes in order to strengthen their relationship.

                No one is exactly the same as another one, but this is what makes every relationship interesting. Embrace the differences between you and your partner and you will be less frustrated and have a happier and lasting relationship.

                More by this author

                Anna Chui

                Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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                Last Updated on April 19, 2021

                How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

                How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

                We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

                Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

                Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

                Expressing Anger

                Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

                Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

                Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

                Being Passive-Aggressive

                This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

                Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

                This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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                Poorly-Timed

                Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

                An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

                Ongoing Anger

                Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

                Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

                Healthy Ways to Express Anger

                What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

                Being Honest

                Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

                Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

                Being Direct

                Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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                Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

                Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

                Being Timely

                When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

                Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

                Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

                How to Deal With Anger

                If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

                1. Slow Down

                From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

                In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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                When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

                2. Focus on the “I”

                Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

                When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

                3. Work out

                When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

                Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

                Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

                If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

                4. Seek Help When Needed

                There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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                5. Practice Relaxation

                We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

                That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

                Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

                6. Laugh

                Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

                7. Be Grateful

                It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

                Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

                Final Thoughts

                Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

                During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

                Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

                More Resources on Anger Management

                Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

                Reference

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