What we believe to be true shapes our world and our relationships. Our brains are evidence seekers, not truth finders. So our thoughts and beliefs play a huge role in how we experience our good relationships. Here’s a checklist of beliefs about yourself, your partner, and the relationship that help you enjoy what you’ve already got!
Warning! Some of these beliefs might just sound like clichés and you might not believe them right now. But read all the way to the end and I’ll explain the difference between intentional thinking and “affirmations” that don’t work.
- All humans are 100% worthy simply by existing. I cannot increase or decrease my worth.
- All humans are 100% lovable. If you don’t love someone it’s a reflection of your ability to love, not that person’s lovability.
- I can feel any emotion without fear (but not without pain, and that’s okay).
- My thoughts create my feelings and I have the power to manage my thoughts.
- I have my own back no matter what and will not turn on myself because of the choices my partner does or doesn’t make.
- It’s not my job to be perfect or better than all other women. A relationship doesn’t consist of two perfect people without flaws.
- The things I don’t yet know how to do are things that I can learn. I’m not broken.
- I’m allowed to not see things coming or constantly look out for red flags.
- I am responsible for my own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and choices in this relationship, but I’m not responsible for my partner’s.
- The only reason I think preparing for potential pain is better than surprise pain is because of how I will treat myself if I am surprised by pain (“I knew it” vs. “I should have seen it coming”).
- It’s my job to respect my own boundaries. Nobody else’s.
About your partner
- I love my partner as they are and will not cheat on them with their “potential.”
- My partner is an adult human being who is responsible for their own choices.
- I respect my partner’s choice to love me and be in a relationship with me.
- If my partner lie’s to me and goes behind my back, I’m by definition not supposed to know about it until the day I find out.
- I can never know for sure what choices my partner will make in the future, so I will not make my safety condition on their choices but on my ability to handle it.
- My partner is 100% lovable. It’s up to my ability to love how much I love them.
- I don’t have to protect my partner from their own free will.
- My partner is not perfect and will make mistakes.
- It’s not my job to correct, control, or punish my partner for their behaviors. All I get to control is myself and what I choose to do in response.
- My partner has other important relationships in their life, not just me.
- Trust is not an insurance policy that nothing bad will happen. It just means that I get to feel good until it does (or does not) happen.
- My partner’s only “job” is to be there for me to love them.
About your relationship
- I can choose between a relationship where we constantly tell each other what to do and a relationship where we both get to do what we want and manage our minds around the rest.
- We are not meant to be each other’s everything and that’s okay.
- Boundaries are guidelines for me to keep myself safe. Not guidelines for what my partner is or isn’t allowed to do.
- All relationships are 50/50 positive and negative emotions. The grass is never greener, just a different shade of green.
- All emotions I feel today are real, regardless of what happens tomorrow.
- An ended relationship is not a failed relationship. It’s a complete relationship.
- The quality of our relationship depends on the quality of our thoughts about it.
- We will go through phases together, it’s not always going to be all-around perfect.
- It’s scary to “just be happy”, but the worst that can happen is that I one day don’t feel happy anymore and if that day comes, nothing has gone wrong.
- A happy relationship consists of two complete adults, responsible for their own happiness, who use their free will to be together, share experiences, and have amazing feelings about each other.
So what’s the difference between just saying these words as “affirmations” and intentionally practicing these beliefs in your good relationship?
Affirmations are just things we say over and over again. But if you don’t believe it to be true, your brain will argue with that affirmation every time you say it. For example:
“I’m worthy, I’m worthy, I’m worthy” … If you don’t believe it, your brain will reply “No you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re not.” And if that’s what you truly believe, that is what will get cemented into your brain each time you say the affirmation. You’re strengthening the negative neural pathway because the affirmation is so far from what you believe to be true. It holds no power and doesn’t generate any positive emotions in your body.
Shifting your beliefs and practicing new thoughts can sometimes require a thought ladder. This means that you need to build your way up to what you want to believe and constantly search for evidence to support your new belief along the way. For example:
“I want to believe that it’s not my job to see it coming, but I can’t believe that right now. However, I can believe that there are SOME women who don’t see it coming and are not idiots. That feels pretty true for me.”
So that is where you start. It doesn’t sound pretty, it sounds pretty rude and mean towards women. But this person (you, perhaps?) have a belief that if you don’t see it coming you’re a naive, pathetic idiot. So their judgment of other women is just a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
So shifting it one step to believing that there are some women who don’t see it coming but still aren’t idiots is a step in the right direction. Then you start looking for evidence to support the fact that not seeing it coming ≠ being an idiot. From there you can then take the next step.
Eventually, you’ll arrive at “not seeing it coming doesn’t make me an idiot, so I don’t have to spend all my time and effort looking out for signs.”
But that might be too big of a leap in the beginning and that’s okay. Don’t make it into an affirmation that you just repeat over and over again but don’t believe. Find a thought that you do believe that is a step in the right direction and then take it from there.
TIP: How do you know if you believe a thought? It activates the corresponding feeling in your body. Just being able to intellectually understand it is not enough. It needs to generate a feeling inside of you for it to work. So make sure you check in with your body when choosing your “next ladder step”.
This right here is called thought work and is a big part of the work that I do with my clients inside of my signature 1:1 coaching program. Want to learn more or apply? Click the picture below!