Does your partner have a habit that bugs you?
Why does it bother me?
I sometimes get upset when my husband’s socks are on the floor and I have to put them in the laundry.
Does it make me feel disrespected?
Can I handle stuff out of place?
If I’ve told my husband about this habit a million times and he keeps doing it anyway, what actions could I take?
- I could say nothing and keep picking up the socks and get resentful.
- I could not pick them up and forget about having a tidy home.
Is it really all that important?
How to get the habit to stop bugging you
In the case of my husband’s socks, I changed the tapes in my mind.
I stopped telling myself that I’m the neat one and that he never has to pick up after me. The truth is he does pick up after me, too. I remind myself that he tolerates my little piles of paper in the corner of our bedroom – the heaps of “important” projects that are probably just as annoying to him as his socks are to me.
Once I’m in a state where I can laugh and acknowledge that we both have our idiosyncrasies and foibles that are aggravating to one another, there’s no need to take our habits personally.
When I’ve gained perspective, I realize it doesn’t matter whether or not I pick up his socks. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I’m free to decide because I’ve changed the meaning of the situation and I’ve taken responsibility and control over how my mind is thinking about socks on the floor. It doesn’t mean the same after I acknowledge that I have a habit that is just as crazy-making for my husband as his socks are for me.
I’ve succeeded in changing the tapes that have been cluttering my mind.
You can do the same, but you first have to admit that you, too, are just as annoying to your partner as he or she is to you.
Your cognitive abilities are essential in problem-solving, but thinking the same way about the same thing, especially when you’re irritated and frustrated, is an avoidance technique. It’s dysfunctional. What’s functional is moving forward to clarity and resolution. You do that by figuring out what your issue means and what you’re willing to do about it. You also have to remember that you’re not an innocent bystander. You always have a part to play in your relationship — and that’s empowering since you can affect change.
Change a habit today
How can you change a tape that’s looping in your mind about one of your partner’s habits? Do you have a habit that irritates him or her? If you can’t think of one, you’re not thinking hard enough. Remember you can change your relationship by discipling your mind. It doesn’t even need to involve any communication with you partner. Click here to find out more about changing habits.