Coupples: Observe before reacting
Naturally, letting go of past grudges and grievances won’t prevent you from getting into trouble in the future. When a conflict does arise, it’s an important exercise not to always react automatically in the moment. Like a train, negative thoughts will come rushing by, but we can choose whether or not we get on. Take some time to step away and focus on something besides the conflict for a while. Since it takes two to tango, stopping yourself from being reactive in the moment prevents the argument from escalating into seriously destructive territory.
When you calm yourself down, you should sit back and observe what is going on. Times of conflict can be experienced as life-threatening, but in calming yourself down, you are in an adult, more rational state and can check in and see what’s real. You may realize you are projecting negative thoughts, or assuming your partner is critical of you, or intentionally hurting you. In these moments of tension, we must take a break and reflect. Don’t feed your feelings of hurt. Instead, step aside and ask yourself what you’re really reacting to and why.
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