Building mindset for positive relationships

Mindset, as the term implies, it’s the attitude that a person reflects through his behavior or actions or in simple terms, we can say it a mental inclination about things. This mindset does not set up in a day. It takes the influence about things that a man experiences and based on those experiences, he establishes his beliefs, that affect his thought process. There are certain beliefs that remain fixed for life while a few might get modified with the changing circumstances.

Smita Bhargava

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The willingness to accept how the other people thinks, speaks or behaves is the result of their upbringing and their mindset is in accordance to their past experiences. When we are in a relationship with someone, we need to accept the good things and their flaws as they come because we love them.

Modifying mindset is not easy

Changing or modifying a mindset is a difficult task. Most of us have difficulty in changing the thought process that we exhibit. The thoughts are generated through emotions and we all feel differently or go under various emotional turbulences at different situations. These thoughts and emotions curve our mindset and thus we fail to empathize with the feeling of other person or understand the trauma that other might be going through. An individual mindset is mostly fixed and does not open up or modify instantly looking at the unpredictable circumstances that one goes through.

This fixedness or the inability to modify results in struggle in maintaining healthy and positive relationships pertaining to the different mindset we possess. I can share incidents where no matter how hard I tried to keep up the essence of relationships –I tend to run into conflicts. Many a times the conflicts emerge as something as an irrelevant argument based over petty issues and unnecessary misunderstanding but at the end they always teach us a lesson. These lessons guide us on how to move further and let go of the negativity. Through all these years, I have struggled with different arena of relationships with my friends, hubby, peers, subordinates or relations with the family, but there are few things that have emerged in common that needs to be taken care of while building a mindset for positive relationship and I name them as –The Learnings of Life.

Smita Bhargava is Primary Incharge at Choithram School.

These learnings of life have helped me make changes and I would like to share this part of me which has helped me grow through the tough times.

The learnings of life…

Acceptance: the first learning, that means to accept someone completely as he/she is, not making an attempt to change or modify them or protest their behavior. The big learning is that we need to bring acceptance in our behavior as a whole and not let it affect one’s own mental health. The willingness to accept how other people think, speak or behave is the result of their upbringing and their mindset is in accordance to their past experiences. When we are in a relationship with someone, we need to accept the good things and their flaws as they come because we love them. Accepting them as a whole with their strengths, qualities, positive vibes and also the things that we do not appreciate in them gives strength to the relationship.

With acceptance come acknowledgement to the imperfections one may possess. No one in the world is born perfect and these imperfections in us makes us unique in our own way. We need to accept that each one is doing the best they can at that moment. This learning of acceptance makes us more forgiving.

Adjust your expectations: Expectations are the root cause for all evils, whether they are from oneself or with others. To keep up the relationship we need to make a lot of adjustments with our expectation level. Expectations burden. What could be right or correct for me can be wrong or incorrect for others. We need to keep our expectations realistic in nature. We should sense that what we are expecting can be fulfilled or not by the other person. The important thing to learn is the balance with this adjustment of expectations — the more flexibile we are with our own expectations, not putting a demand for them to be fulfilled at any cost, the healthier it is. The more balanced we become in lowering down our level of expectations, the easier it will be for us to build healthy positive relationships.

Dependence and space: It has been observed that as relationships get old, people get more dependent on each other. Dependence comes as an essential element in any relationship. People fall in a relationship because they like each other and thus they share, care and accept others as a whole. This interdependence connects them and helps in bringing them closer. This interdependence also comes with limits. People in relationships should respect the independence of the other. This attitude of giving other the liberty to possess own thought process, independence to put up their views and having the space to breathe out.

Such intervention into the personal space creates suffocation and affects the health of the relationship. Providing space is the most important aspect in a relationship. Each individual should have his/her own space so that the relationship doesn’t become a burden. With space comes openness and trust. We need to accept that each one has his own set of thoughts, beliefs, friends, inmates and their own life where they would like to spend time alone. Sharing that space is completely their decision. We should understand that people may be willing to share things with us or not should not be taken up offensively. With this attribute of providing space help in prospering a relationship.

Restrain from avoidance of conflict: Difference of opinion often lead to conflicts where we fail to understand each other perspective and fall into conflicts. People always share ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ or ‘I would not like to start it up again.’ Avoidance leads to distress and affects the situation adversely. All individuals have their own thoughts on which they build up their perceptions. All of us think differently and justify or put forth our opinion but fail to accept the other person opinion. These small issues take shape of something big if avoided.

We need to keep our expectations realistic in nature. We should sense that what we are expecting can be fulfilled or not by the other person. The important thing to learn is the balance with this adjustment of expectations — the more flexibile we are with our own expectations, not putting a demand for them to be fulfilled at any cost, the healthier it is. The more balanced we become in lowering down our level of expectations, the easier it will be for us to build healthy positive relationships.

Whenever we feel that there is difference of opinion, the first thing we should attempt to do is to sit and start talking it all over again going at the root cause and sharing our perception and opinion about the issue and then let the other party present his/her opinion. When both the parties are done then we should list out the pros and cons and discuss them openly. Discussion leads to solution whereas avoidance leads to distortions. As the saying goes ‘a lot can be resolved over a cup of coffee.’ There isn’t anything that can’t be solved – the need is to initiate to resolve, the willingness to talk with an open mindset and with a neutral perspective. The readiness to see that other person might be right. The neutrality is difficult but at the same time it is necessary to see things from neutral end without attaching any emotion or distortions to it. With this mindset we would be able to resolve a conflict in an effective manner and strengthen the relationship further.

Communicate yourself: My gut feeling says that communication is the most important element in building a positive mindset and enhancing the intimacy in a relationship. There have been incidents that people share ‘whenever I ask him to share he says he isn’t comfortable in sharing’ or whenever I try to talk to him he doesn’t tell me anything.’
What we need to see here that one sided communication always leads to dissatisfaction and disappointment. In this context because of communication barrier, the rift increases because the communicator is not receiving any positive response. The other person might feel dejected or ignored. This negative feeling will, in turn, lead to heated discussions and poses a negative impact.

Thus what is most important is to communicate with each other all the time, talk about small things, appreciate each other, talk about the day at work. Do not hesitate to talk about your innermost feelings like fears anxieties. These small talks strengthen the bond. Make sure that the communication remains transparent and open and clear. Two people bond together when they feel there are no secrets or hidden elements amongst them. Such a free flow of communication goes a long way in building up positive relationships.

These attributes have helped me a lot and incorporating them will definitely help in building up a mindset that will lead to positive implications that foster positive bond in a relationship. People are important in our lives and to keep living with them happily we need to make the needed modifications that make living together worthwhile.