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5 Toxic Beliefs That Can End Any Relationship

5 Toxic Beliefs That Can End Any Relationship

Want to maximize the chances that your relationship will last? If you do, take an inventory of your relationship belief system. If you have a habit of carrying negative thought patterns into your romance, you could be sabotaging your prospects at everlasting love.

Here are the top five toxic beliefs that can end any relationship:

1. Believing your happiness is the responsibility of the of the other person.

When your partner does something hurtful, it is natural to want to blame them for your feelings of shock, anger and disappointment. Expressing and working through these emotions is the one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and your relationship. However, if days, months, and years go on with you continuing to be miserable because you just can’t “let go” of what the other person did, your relationship is at serious risk.

While someone may have acted unkindly, disrespectfully or even abusively, ultimately, there is only one person responsible for your happiness. That person is you. There is power in taking responsibility for your own life’s happiness.

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Don’t give that power away to someone else, even your lover!

2. Believing your relationship should always be struggle and drama-free.

As a human, you are here to learn and grow so you can become fulfilled in your life. Growth, however, just isn’t possible without the occasional struggle. Your partner is one of the best people to help you work through your personal and relationship limits to realize the fullness of who you really are.

Why? Because that person loves you!

When things feel hopeless because of the relationship conflict you are experiencing, before you throw in the towel, consider these possibilities: (a) YOU could be wrong; (b) if you are right, the principle of the matter isn’t worth hanging onto for the sake of peace; (c) your partner’s behavior is a reflection of the way in which you have been treating them; and (d) just like you, your partner wants validation, security and love.

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By reframing your relationship growing pains, you will see conflict as the gift that it truly is.

3. Believing that once your trust has been broken, all hope is lost for your relationship.

At some point in your relationship, your partner will break their word to you. Whether you want to admit it or not, you will break your word to your partner, as well. These things do not make either of you “bad” people. They do not make you poor relationship material.

They simply make you human.

You will undoubtedly feel devastated when your life’s partner has broken your trust. While you should allow yourself to experience the range of emotions that you will, if you love the other person and want to save the relationship, you will do one thing for certain: have a conversation to try to comprehend what lead your partner to do what they did.

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There will be some situations where your partner doesn’t understand their own actions. In most cases, however, with honest communication, it is possible to comprehend the reasons “why” (although you may not agree with the behavior itself). Once you grasp the cause for your partner’s conduct, ask yourself how or whether you contributed to those actions.

If your own behavior was a contributing factor, consider whether the relationship is important enough to you (and it would be healthy for you) to consider changing your behavior…for the sake of love.

4. Believing that keeping secrets from your partner is lying or breaking their trust.

Do you hate being around your in-laws? If so, in the name of relationship integrity, do you need to share that fact with your partner every time you think about it? Absolutely not!

Sometimes saving your relationship actually depends on you not telling your lover about every thought that crosses your mind; not having a filter could subject your partner to thoughts which are fleeting and insignificant. However, in many cases, when constantly spoken, these unimportant thoughts permanently poison the soil from which contentment and trust bloom.

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When you are inclined to share something that could be hurtful to your partner, ask yourself whether the disclosure is necessary to preserve the continued well-being of the relationship. If it isn’t, consider keeping the secret to yourself.

5. Believing that work, children and friends are all more important than time spent on your relationship.

Once the hormone-infused “honeymoon” is over, for individuals in a relationship, they get back to the business of life. For you, that could mean immersing yourself in your work, your children, your hobbies and your friends. It is all too easy to allow your partner to sink to the lowest priority in trying to juggle these competing interests. The sustained lack of focus on a relationship causes many people to wake up one day (after the kids are gone, for example) and realize they are in a committed relationship with a stranger.

Don’t let this happen to you. Just like you do with your job supervisor, schedule a regular time to sit and explore how each of you are feeling, whether your respective needs are being met, and what can be done to improve the areas in which a need isn’t being met. Aside from this regular relationship evaluation, spend time with your partner, away from everyone else, enjoying their company, learning new things and creating a vision for your shared future.

With regular and consistent communication, you and your partner will give each other the chance to discover and end these toxic beliefs that could threaten to end any relationship – even yours.

Featured photo credit: Bigstock via bigstockphoto.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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