Pet peeves. Mood swings. Bad days. We all have them, especially in relationships, and sometimes it’s just too easy to let something seemingly meaningless turn into the.biggest.deal.
Overreacting happens to the best of us, myself included. Just last week I accused my boyfriend of purposely sabotaging my well being just because he forgot to pick up toilet paper on his way home.
As humans we’re emotional, it’s in our DNA, and when we know our partner loves us unconditionally, it becomes pretty hard to filter our reactions. Of course, we’re not always intentionally spewing with animosity, just waiting for the right moment to take it out on the people we love, but I’m willing to bet that more often than not we take our bad moods out on our partners before we even realize it’s happening.
It’s natural, but it’s not necessary.
Our relationships should be our happy place, our safe and stress-free zone, and there’s a pretty straightforward way to make sure that’s the case: make like Elsa from Frozen and just let things go.
I know I know, easier said than done, and even the best of us are still working on it. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure about where to start, here are some suggestions to help you start letting go of the little things.
-Don’t Assume the Worst-
Psychology Today reports that when we feel hurt, it’s a natural part of our fight or flight response to presume it was deliberate. In the heat of an emotional reaction, we forget that our partner likely didn’t upset us intentionally and that it’s possible we came to this reaction on our own accord. Remembering that our perceptions can be distorted by our emotions, and our significant other isn’t out to get us can actually be a very calming realization that allows us to move on more quickly.
-Know That Your Partner’s Not a Mind-Reader-
So many of us are guilty of this one. When our significant other knows us inside out, we are quick to assume that they always know what we expect out of them and this can lead to holding them to a lot of unrealistic expectations. Even though it feels fantastic when our partner surprises us with the exact birthday gift we wanted or cleans the house without us asking, this may not always be the reality in relationships. Typically, we don’t receive the gift we wanted, or something doesn’t get done because, surprise, we didn’t ask for it. Understanding this and making a conscious effort to ask for what you want can work wonders on your relationship.
-Remember the 5 by 5 Rule-
“If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset by it.”
Okay, so this rule might not be psychologically flawless. Of course, some things are going to require more than five minutes of your emotion. What this rule does though is it brings your mind back to the big picture. In the midst of day to day routine, it’s easy to think that small mistakes are grounds for an argument and sure, maybe sometimes they are. However, allowing yourself to consider if the disagreement would still be worth having in a year or even a months’ time can alleviate a lot of unnecessary frustration and make it easier to let things slide.
-You Don’t Have to Keep Score, and You Don’t Have to Win-
Most of us want to be right, especially in an argument, especially in a relationship, and especially when we’re in a bad mood. It’s so easy to become obsessed with being right and ‘winning’ that we let an argument carry on for longer than it needs to, and it’s even easier to keep score of who did what and use that to our advantage.
“We went to a movie that I didn’t want to see last night, so there’s no way we’re doing what you want to do tonight even though I don’t have any other suggestions.”
Sound familiar? Many of us are stubborn by nature, so it’s a natural instinct to want to walk away from an argument knowing we were right and the other person was wrong. What we forget though, is that the world isn’t going to crash down around us if we admit we were wrong or made a mistake. Letting go of who did what, or what you think the outcome should be, can help you let go of things in general and, in turn, resolve a lot of arguments before they even happen.
So there you have it, folks. The cold, hard truth of it all is that no matter how hard we try, we will never always be right. Remember, you and your partner are a team, it’s not you vs. them and you’ll find that there’s truly an underrated peace to moving forward and just letting it go.