Hey hopeful romantics,
I had a bit of an epiphany this week.
For the past few weeks, I feel like I've been dragging myself through life. I've been exhausted and a bit down in the dumps.
Anyone else in that boat?
While researching content for my other newsletter about writing, I came across an article by a man named Dan Sullivan.
He talked about "The Gap."
Through his work with entrepreneurs, Dan found that people measure success in two ways:
The gap between where they are and where they want to be.
The gap between where they are and where they used to be.
People in the first category never feel successful because they focus on what they're lacking. People in the second category feel happy because they acknowledge how far they've come; how much they gained.
One mindset is focused on what's lacking, the other is focused on what's gained.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
The epiphany I had was that I'm a bit negative. I like to hope for the best, but I know I have a tendency to focus on what can go wrong and what I don't have.
So to give you an example, I'll use my boyfriend, naturally.
When I first started dating my boyfriend, he was much different than other guys I dated. While I later saw these differences to be a very GREAT thing, for a long time, I saw them as negatives.
"My boyfriend never wants to be on my Instagram stories."
"My boyfriend isn't outdoorsy and adventurous like my exes."
"My boyfriend doesn't do this, this, and that."
I got caught up in everything my boyfriend lacks. And to this day, I still suffer from that way of thinking.
I don't focus on the things I gain from having him in my life.
"My boyfriend listens to me when I'm upset or sad."
"My boyfriend accepts who I am without judgment."
"My boyfriend supports all my dreams."
"My boyfriend gives me a sense of security I didn't feel with my past boyfriends."
To break this idea down to a more meta example:
Yesterday I felt crappy; that nasty melancholy was rearing its head, and I had a headache. I worked from bed all day. My boyfriend had a work lunch and offered to pick me up something from Whole Foods on his way home. I asked him to pick up my favorites: a green smoothie, sushi, and a brownie.
But when he got home, I realized he bought sashimi instead of sushi.
You might be rolling your eyes right now, but bear with me.
Some people would focus on the one error in that situation: they asked for sushi and didn't get what they wanted. They would complain to their partner, feel contempt toward them. They would've focused on the lack.
But other people would be happy their partner brought them any food in the first place. A smoothie, brownie, and salmon? Who cares that one thing was wrong!
And that's the exact mindset shift that can drastically change your relationships. Whether it be your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, sister, father, or co-worker.
When you focus on what's lacking in your relationship, you're putting yourself in a negative headspace. You aren't thinking about everything you gain from having that person in your life. To be frank, you aren't being grateful.
When you don't stop to appreciate all the positives in a relationship, you not only put unnecessary pressure on the other person, you put yourself in a bad mood, too.
I think we can all agree that a grateful person is happier in life than someone who always feels they don't have enough.
On the other hand, someone who is thankful for the gains in their life will translate to feeling more positive; That having a friend who cares enough to call and check in on them weekly is a blessing or the fact their parents are alive is a gift.
Dan applied this concept to entrepreneurs and how they viewed their success. I first applied this notion to my writing career (part of my negativity stems from worry about where my writing is going). But of course, if I compare myself to the likes of Brené Brown or writers at The New Yorker, I'm going to feel like I lack a lot.
Instead, I've chosen to see how far I've come.
After realizing I could apply this to my relationship, and my life in general, I've felt immediate changes in my attitude.
It's easy to get caught up in the mindset of thinking about everything we lack. Our society essentially thrives off that.
But if you want to improve your relationships, create a mindset where you appreciate what you gain rather than lack. And maybe even speak those realizations out loud to those closest to you. I'm sure they'd appreciate it.
Until next week my amazing readers.
In the meantime, have a great weekend and, as always, thank you for being a dedicated reader.
All the love,
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I'd be eternally grateful. 💕
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