No one likes a critic...

A Key to Developing

Positive Relationships

Here is an important concept to remember regarding keeping relationships positive: Not losing is more important than winning.

As long you are aware that you have a choice regarding responses in situations that cannot be changed, you will not put in a position where you feel that you lose. It’s the belief of losing that prompts negative feelings. This is why “not losing” is a key to keeping positive relationships.

It is also important to remember that the feeling of not having a choice encourages resistance because it prompts a feeling of being trapped. When a person feels there are no options, the result is not only resistance but also resentment. By contrast, offering choices ensures that a person’s power and dignity are retained.

You will also be choosing a losing situation whenever you focus on the past and project negativity, as in, “Why did you do that?” In contrast, you can choose to focus on the future by being optimistic and positive and by suggesting a procedure or asking, “What can you do to prevent this from happening again?” The reflective question will also result in developing a more positive relationship.

If you choose to talk about what a person did wrong, the person will only resent it because the situation cannot be undone. Choosing to focus on the past will only result in criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, or punishing. Any of these will result in stress and negative feelings for all involved.

Tip: You will promote responsible behavior and retain strong relationships if you choose to communicate in terms of, “So, let’s talk about what has been learned and how to do it better next time.” When you do, you will immediately become a coach instead of a critic or cop.

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Dr. Marvin Marshall

PO Box 11
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

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