L, is for the way you look, at me
O, is for the only one, I see
V, is very very, extraordinary, and
E, is even more than anyone that you adore…
Most likely you’re familiar with the jaunty 1965 Nat King Cole song. It’s been the theme music in romantic comedies and played on radio stations for generations. It so very well describes the giddy, elevated feeling we experience when falling in love. Whether it be in a romantic relationship, a business partnership, a friendship, a new work team, or a new job — the sparkling freshness at the beginning of a relationship can send you down the hallways dancing and humming. But it’s not long after the wear and tear of life sets in that those feelings can quickly turn to disillusion and discouragement. We’ve all experienced it. What starts out as the opportunity of a lifetime turns into the ball and chain around our necks, similar to how that new car smell is so quickly replaced by the odorous aroma of abandoned fast food wrappers left lying on the floor.
Falling in love doesn’t seem to be the issue. Staying in love is another story.
How do we prevent the adversities of life from ruining our relationships? Jack Canfield, an American author and motivational speaker, says this:
“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.”
Research shows that people who are able to maintain a positive mindset have better relationships. Robert Ackerman, researcher at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (University of Texas), worked with middle school students to assess how well they resolved conflict with their parents, and videotaped the subjects for over 17 years. With nearly 20 years of data at his fingertips, he discovered that kids who grew up with loving, supporting parents, exercising positive communication and warmth, were more likely to experience adult romantic relationships that were positive.* To quote Ackerman:
“I think that studying more positive behaviors is important because it may shed more insight on how to better enhance romantic relationships.”
How is your positivity–or lack of–affecting your relationships? If you struggle with letting negativity get a hold of you when life gets tough, here are a few things you could being to look at:
- What are your core beliefs about adversity? Do you see it as fate or something you can control? Do you see suffering as part of being human or a result of particular actions? Do you see setbacks as having long-term effects or are they short-lived?
- Start listening to your self-talk when adversity strikes. Do you tend to go to an “I can do this” place or a “I’m doomed” place?
- Ask an honest question: is there anything about the drama that accompanies adversity that you enjoy?
- Can you look back on past adversity and see that you overcame the obstacle and moved on, or are you still experiencing negative effects from that event to this day?
We all know it’s not about having a happy, trouble-free life that brings joy. It’s more about our ability to roll with the punches (resiliency) and allow the event(s) to shape us into better human beings. Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American artist and poet, put it this way:
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Finding someone to work with you to combat negative tendencies can be a good first step of heading down the road of positivity, which can lead to healthier, happier relationships. Though it doesn’t happen overnight, behavior can be changed, and with some help you can begin to shift your focus from the negative to the positive.
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don’t break it
Love was made for me and you
Love was made for me and you
Love was made for me and you.
(2013. Study finds good marriages more likely for teens of happy homes. University of Texas at Dallas News Center (n.d.): n. pag. Web. https://www.utdallas.edu/news/2013/3/21-22501_Study-Finds-Good-Marriages-More-Likely-for-Teens-o_article-wide.html?WT.mc_id=NewsHomePage).