Update + [Re-Post] The Positive Perspective


Welp, I just fell off the face of the earth there didn’t I?

I didn’t realize that I was going to be so busy with work! We hosted the Gottman Level 3 training in Seattle this past weekend for 120+ therapists from all over the world!

There were people from Ireland, Austria, and Australia! It was very cool to see so many people passionate about counseling couples and doing it in a way that’s effective and reliable. Very few approaches to therapy are as tested and validated as the Gottman method, which became apparent as I watched John and Julie perform roleplays over the course of three days. It was a rare treat and I feel incredibly fortunate to have met them both and seen them in action.

I was on my feet all three days and only had Sunday as a day of rest before we were back at it for another workshop on Tuesday. I was feeling so run down, I just slept most of yesterday and went grocery shopping.

Now, without further ado, I will continue my celebrations of The Sound Relationship House, by sharing the remainder of my original posts on the Gottmans’ approach to couples therapy. I’m going to go through and schedule these buggers for the next few days, so I won’t do things like get too tired to post or forget to post. I’m losing it, friends.

The Positive Perspective is one of the hardest things I had to work on in my relationship. As someone who has dealt with depression, I’m prone to looking at the crappy side of things and letting one crap thing weigh 100 times what 100 good things weigh. Learning to look at all the amazingly wonderful things about my partner and my relationship (and my life!) has been such a wonderful blessing. Relationships aren’t perfect, but they can be really good, and a lot of that is ultimately about how you see your partner and choose to work towards a life of happiness or misery.

P.S. I hope you enjoy looking at the old way I captioned photos in Paint.

We’re back with the fourth installment in the Sound Relationship House. Click on the following links for the first three posts in this series, Building Love Maps, Sharing Fondness and Admiration, and Turning Towards.

So, next on the Gottman Love Train (aka The Sound Relationship House) is The Positive Perspective.

This one may seem a little more obvious than the others, but bear with me here. It’s all in the Jedi mind tricks bag that is “healthy relationships”.

Well, as we’ve established, the Sound Relationship House is like most other houses – It can’t stand upright without a good foundation. So now that we have our Love Maps, Fondness and Admiration, and Turning Towards in place, we can build upon the Positive Perspective which is based off of Bob Weiss’s theory of positive sentiment override and negative sentiment override.

Let’s set the premise. Say you’re in a relationship with this guy. You super like him and most of the time he’s a cool dude. Sometimes he’s an arrogant jerk and he totally pretends he doesn’t care about the best for the galaxy (you totally know where I’m going with this), but then he surprises you and decides to fight with the Imperial Starfleet and stop being such a jerkface.

You start to really think he’s the cat’s pajamas, the bee’s knees, the chewy to your bacca (?). You get the picture.

Then he does something really stupid, like get himself frozen in time and say something super self-absorbed like “I know,” when you finally get the guts to tell him, “I love you!”

But then, you remember…

That guy was a great kisser.

He looks really good with a wookie.

And he totally saved me from a life of slug servitude…

I guess I can forgive him for being so insufferable sometimes.

That’s basically positive sentiment override. You and your partner build up these opinions or beliefs about each other seeing one another as “all good” or “all bad”. Unfortunately, when you see them as “all bad” it becomes nearly impossible to see the good. The person who was once your best friend has now become your arch enemy. You start building a gigantic army of walls and protection and light sabers to keep this person from hurting, disappointing, or pissing you off anymore than they already have.

So how do you get out of negative sentiment override and start to see the good in someone again?

We go back to the foundation.

Love Maps.

Fondness and Admiration.

Turning Towards.

These are the things that build up that emotional bank account. These are the things that make your partner seem less like Darth Vader and more like this guy…

Author: Jennifer Bingaman Mazur

I like writing about what I think about what I think. I also like writing about what other people think and what I think about that. Yes? Yes.

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