In his book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz gives the following relationship advice:
Before you start getting upset and fighting about something, put the situation to the “is it worth it” test. In other words, is fighting/complaining/crying/bickering (whatever your relationship poison) worth the consequences? Is it worth the risk of creating bitterness and resentment? Is it worth the potential for hurt feelings and ruined moods on both ends?
Here are some examples:
- Your boyfriend forgot it was your mother’s birthday, and your first instinct is to make him feel guilty. Is it worth it?
- Your roommate used up all the toilet paper and forgot to renew the roll. You’re ready for battle. Is it worth it?
- Someone bumped into you on the train, and you’re already taking in a deep breath of air for all the curse words you’re about to unleash. Is it worth it?
You get the idea. I love this strategy because it’s so simple and so effective. Just asking yourself this question helps puts things in prospective and diffuses so much frustration. So much relationship tension exists because we overreact to insignificant things (and this holds true for ALL types of relationships). My sister, Kat, might snap at me because she’s had a rough day, I take it personally and get defensive. She gets even more upset. I get even MORE upset. And before you know, it we’ve both got our arms crossed and our bottom lips jutting out. (Story of our sisterhood).
Of course there are also times when this approach isn’t the right fit. For example, if you walk in on your girlfriend making out with a stranger. In that case, I’d say it’s almost definitely worth it to have a pretty serious chat. Stewing in silence even over small stuff is never a good choice, but the point of this advice is that if you can let something roll of your shoulders, do. We say so many things we don’t mean and do so much we later regret all because of a lousy mood or displaced frustration. In fact, I once read a theory that a lot of the world’s most brutal battles have been spurred by generals because of maddeningly severe tooth aches. Hey you, generals. Was it really worth it?
- Tania Luna
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