“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions”. This is a quote by Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, a widely known and extremely popular self-help book. Without reading this book, we all know, to some extent, how we perceive the world matters. The way we view things can impact our feelings and behaviour thereafter, and I can’t tell you how many times my mother has told me “It’s all about your perspective”. This got me thinking – since perspective can change how you feel and behave, perhaps it also has some influence in the world of dating as well.
Being a Psychology major, I had to look into the research. I’ll start off by saying that the research on dating and relationships is extensive. In looking into the world of dating from a more scientific standpoint, I stumbled across an intriguing study by Marian M. Morry, Mie Kito, and Lindsey Ortiz out of the University of Manitoba entitled “The Attraction-Similarity Model and Dating Couples: Projection, Perceived Similarity, and Psychological Benefits.”
The study itself is complex, but the findings are quite easily understood. The authors found that the participants (whom were all in relationships for a differing periods of time) who focused on positive occurrences in their partnerships felt a temporary increase in attraction to their partner. The result was an increase in how similar they perceived themselves to be to their partner.
After reading this, I started to think that perhaps perspective is a big component to having a good relationship.
When you think about it, anyone in your life, and pull strictly from the negative encounters you’ve had with them, chances are you may perceive them a bit more negatively. The same is true when reversed and in regards to relationships; if you think about that great date you and your partner went on rather then that one time they asked you to dinner and they had to bail on you last minute, chances are, you will form a more positive perception of them based on that event, thereby liking them more.
So what’s the take-away here? We should just always focus on the positive aspects and events of our relationships and never the negative? Of course not!
As university students well versed in the world of dating, we can all agree that we have dated someone who did something so negative that there really was no way of viewing it positively.
But, knowing now that having a positive perspective can change how you view your significant other, perhaps we will all think twice before mentally holding on to negative events which, in the grand scheme of things, are unimportant.
If every time you are upset with your partner you can think of a few events where they were a good partner, you’ll be well on your way to viewing the events that occur in your relationship from a glass half full perspective.