The Thanksgiving Challenge
Step 1: For seven days, mindfully notice your tendency to criticize.
When those moments happen, focus your attention to notice what you have and what others contribute to your life. Search for the small things you can admire and appreciate in yourself and your partner. Maybe this is noticing:
- Your partner taking out the trash
- Listening to you with their full attention
- Giving you a kiss randomly
- Your ability to turn towards your partner during conflict
- Your ability to ask open-ended questions that allow you to see different parts of your partner
- Your ability to help out more when your partner is stressed
Step 2: For the entire week, offer your partner at least one genuine compliment each day.
The compliments I give include the event I noticed and a characteristic I love about my partner. It goes something like this, “I love how you smiled at the little boy in the stroller at the grocery store. You’re such a compassionate and kind person.” As you are doing this, notice how it impacts your relationship, your partner and yourself. Don’t be phony and make things up. Notice the positive qualities of your partner. Rejoice in them. They are there!
As you take on this thanksgiving challenge, you’ll receive an amazing gift. You will be less critical of yourself. You will begin to be kind to yourself and over time will relish in your own accomplishments and the beauty of the relational gifts you offer the loved ones of your life.
The more you can embrace the spirit of thanksgiving and the profound presence of praise and admiration, the more fulfilling your relationship will be.