Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Relationship Tip: Zero Negativity

I came across an article by Harville Hendricks, a very well known relationship expert.  In an article, he invited couples to make a Zero Negativity pledge to one another.  No hurtful words, no hurtful looks, no hurtful gestures.

He says that "Whether criticism is phrased in a gentle way or a cruel way, it comes from the same place of judgment."  While at the same time "a relationship without dialogue, without one person being able to express a concern, is also an unhealthy place. Suppressed thoughts and feelings lead to passive-aggressive behavior, or to the gradual dissolution of affection for one another."

Hendricks suggests "The path out of this relational trap is to first take on an approach of zero negativity: for both parties to commit absolutely to refraining from put downs, negative comments and behaviors. ...  Not just temporarily, but always."

OK ... so here's an example of how it works. 

"... start with a statement like "I'm having a hard time with something, and I want to share it with you. Is now a good time to talk?" 

He goes on to say "If it's not a good time for the other person to hear this, the requester must accept it. But the other person must in turn offer a time he or she would be more open to hearing your concerns. Knowing that you are going to express something critical takes away the element of surprise and defensiveness in the other person, and allows you to state your concern in a thought out, gentle way. It makes it much more likely that they will be willing to compromise and come closer to your side of the fence."

I really like this ... and, I'm going to give it a try.  Maybe you will too!

Click here to read the full article.

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