Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

cerise20camelia - Positive affirmations can damage your relationships!

mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.


Are you following the mantra of making positive self-affirmations every day? It may make you feel good at the time. It may even make you feel that you are in control of your life and are not just wallowing in pessimism. But if you do it in a way that compares your loved ones to yourself, you may destroy your valued relationships – taking all the goodness out of the affirmation!

Escalating the positive affirmations creates distance between you and loved ones.

Imagine yourself saying good things about yourself as you start the day and then through the day to keep you going and give you boosts as you need them. Watch the escalation as you need to ratchet up the confidence and belief in yourself. It may go something like this:

” I am a good person.”

“I am better than Nick at my job”

” I am the most thorough of all the staff in the office.”

” I can do a day’s work and come home to do homework with the kids, while my partner gets tired after doing nothing in the house all day long.”

” I can do a full days work, go to night school, and cook for friends, but Suzie can’t even get her butt out of bed most days!”

Can you hear the comparisons become more superior?

Can you hear how you have to diss others to feel good?

Can you hear how you need more and more superior juice to keep you afloat?

Research shows the harm positive affirmations can do to relationships

An article in The Journal of Personality, 2011 reports that those who use positive self-statements that compare themselves favorably to others cause rifts in relationships. Other people feel put down, upset and angry when the statements are expressed openly or through some behavior that leaves no doubt how dismissive and judgmental you are of them.

Self-Affirmations that compare you to others keep you focused on differences that spell distance, not similarities that encourage connection and empathy.

You can avoid the fraying of the relationship by not expressing it out loud, but it comes through in your body posture, your facial expression, the way you sit by them and the tone of your voice. So just being silent isn’t enough.

Ask yourself why you need to compare yourself to your friends and loved ones in order to feel good about yourself?

Why aren’t you good enough without comparisons?

If you can’t be positive about yourself without finding someone or something to feel superior to, you may need to do ponder why your self-image is so fragile that it can’t stand alone.

Perhaps you don’t know how to ground yourself and stay positive when life’s storms come coursing your way day in and day out.

That spells insecurity in a big way.

small20leaf20coleus - Positive affirmations can damage your relationships!

spread your wings and connect via similarity to make you secure and confident.

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Perhaps you don’t have a compass inside you that is reliable and accurate, consistent and trustworthy.

If so, you may need to use others to be that compass and grounding force.

Fine, but do it by looking for connections and threads that weave you together, not tears and flaws in others that drive you further away, leaving you even less grounded than ever.

Keep the threads connected by looking for equality, because when you do that, others will form a solid foundation under you, giving you the confidence you need, so that self-affirmations are never needed again!

That way you feel secure, and security is the key to a healthy and stable positive but realistic self-concept.

copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have while reading the article or implementing any of the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.