Love can bring out the best and the worst in people. Think about the relationships you have in your life. Can you imagine always getting along with the other person? We all have our own opinions, beliefs and ways of doing things which can cause disagreements, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Some people think successful relationships don’t have bad days, but that is entirely false. Successful relationships have bad days, weeks and even months at times. Relationships take time to build and work to maintain, and they’re not based only on the good memories and fun times. Good relationships don’t magically avoid mistakes, failures and misunderstandings. Instead, they’ve learned how to deal with them in a positive way.
In this article, Jay Shetty shares how to change your relationship mindset and the seven ways to get through the tough days in love.
Think of the Other Person as a Friend
Imagine you’re helping a friend facing the same relationship challenge you’re facing. What advice would you give them? Think about how you would encourage them to look at the situation. You would probably sit them down and have a heart-to-heart talk about their responsibility or role in the situation.
When you face a challenge in your relationship, Jay Shetty encourages you to think of the other person as a friend. Take a step back and become an observer of your life and the current struggle. How do you perceive it looking from the outside in? This method removes you from the mess, giving you some distance to determine the steps you can take to help foster a resolution to the situation.
We become so familiar with that other person that we can lose sight of who they are and why they’re important. It becomes easy to judge or criticize them. If you think of them as a friend and allow yourself space and distance to zoom out and take a look at things, you’ll be able to move forward.
Giving a loved one space is healthy. It gives everyone a chance to assess the situation and remember how important the other person is to them.
Determine Your Non-Negotiables
You need to have a list of non-negotiables for each relationship you’re in. Even healthy relationships need boundaries.
Everyone needs to determine their non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are the things you’re not willing to put up with. Jay Shetty’s non-negotiables include a cheating partner, a person who tells outright lies about important things and someone who does things behind his back. These things go against his principles, and he is not willing to put up with them.
Not sure what your non-negotiables are? Jay Shetty suggests a quick method to help you determine them. First, list the things you think you can navigate when times get rough. Then list the things that are a hard no for you. Everything can feel non-negotiable when you’re frustrated or angry, so it’s crucial to establish these things before you’re in the middle of a stressful situation.
“It's important to have this established so that you avoid the mind’s tendency to magnify and amplify daily and weekly issues into becoming annual decisions into becoming life decisions,” explains Jay Shetty. “The idea being that you don't want to make a lifelong decision based on how you feel today, and you don't want to make the situation any bigger than it is.”
People tend to say things they don’t mean when faced with a relationship challenge in an effort to amplify the situation to try to make it more important than it is. They hope the other person will respond with the affection they are seeking.
“If you want something, say it,” says Jay Shetty. “If you're having a tough time, talk about it. Don't amplify it to mean something else. This is taking an unneeded risk that could hurt your relationship.”
Control Your Response
When you respond to your loved one from a place of frustration or ego, it does nothing but make things worse. For example, when Jay Shetty’s wife tells him she’s had a rough day, his ego or insecure response is to say, “I have a tough day every day.” This is a response that comes out of frustration.
“You're confusing the situation,” Jay Shetty shares. “That person is trying to express to you that they've been working hard, and they need you to be there for them, but you're now trying to use their moment when they just needed you for a moment.”
When your partner is telling you about a bad day, don’t make it about you. Ask what you can do to help make it better for them. You don't need to respond out of your insecurity. Try to understand their insecurity and what they need from you, and then respond from that place.
Don’t Expect Your Partner to be You
The way you handle things is unique to you. Just because you handle something in a certain way doesn't mean your partner will handle it in the same way. Your way isn’t necessarily the right way for your partner. If you’re always expecting your partner to respond the same way you do, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and possible disagreements.
Learn to be patient and try to understand how your partner deals with challenging situations. Observe how they process things and why they do things the way they do.
“Maybe you’re someone who likes to talk things out right away, but your partner needs to think about it,” Jay Shetty shares. “You expect them to do it like you, and they expect you to do it like them. The truth is, neither is right. Learn to be patient and understanding. You may feel you're the one doing all the learning and the understanding, but I promise you, you have the strength to uplift and transform the relationship if you're willing to be patient, focused and take responsibility for how you feel.”
Don’t Try to Change Your Partner
According to Jay Shetty, we make someone less of themselves when we try to make them more like us, and that can destroy relationships.
Jay Shetty admits he’s organized and disciplined, while his wife, Radhi, is spontaneous and fun. They love their differences and feel they complement each other, but sometimes it causes conflict. For example, there have been times when he has tried to make her more organized.
“We will be going to a social event with friends, and I pressure her to hurry so we can be early because that’s how I am programmed,” Jay Shetty explains.
There have also been times when she has tried to encourage him to be more spontaneous—usually in the middle of his organized workday when he is recording podcasts or creating content.
“There are times I expect her to be professional in her personal life, and she expects me to be personal in my professional life,” Jay Shetty explains. “Those two things don't work together because she thrives when she's spontaneous and fun, and I thrive when I'm organized. So I have to realize that the more I try and make her organized like me, she's going to stop being spontaneous like her. And the more she tries to do that to me, the same thing happens.”
Amplify the Good in Your Partner
It’s easy to point out the mistakes or negative qualities in someone when you’re going through a tough time. Instead of laying into them and telling them all their faults and what you don’t like about them, pivot and point out their good characteristics. Tell them their strengths, and let them know you appreciate those things about them.
“Your partner is going to recreate what you reward,” Jay Shetty shares. “If you don't reward or recognize anything, how can they repeat it? If you keep repeating negative patterns, they will feel negative and keep repeating the negative patterns.”
Make a list of your partner's strengths, the things you like or love about them, and tell them the specific things on your list.
Do a Self-Intervention
Don’t wait until your relationship needs an intervention from family or friends. Do a check-in with each other on occasion, just as you would at work. Check to see how each other is feeling about the relationship. It may be a conversation filled with awkwardness or conflict, but it’s better to get it out and discuss it than to let things fester into more significant issues. The payoff is worth taking the time to have a conversation.
With a shift in mindset regarding your relationships and some guidance from these seven ways to get through the tough days of love, you can create a successful, loving relationship that can withstand challenges that arise.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “7 Ways to Get Through Tough Days in Love” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.