What also happens when we don’t use the clean slate approach in our relationships is it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for us. We end up viewing current events through obscured glasses, simply because we are looking for those issues because we haven’t yet let them go. Those issues are still on the slate, so that’s what we’re focused on and that’s what leads to new unnecessary arguments and relationship discontent.
As human beings we like to prove ourselves right and so by retaining thoughts of past mistakes and speaking about them again and again, no matter how much we don’t want them to be true, our human brains are inclined to search for anything that proves our thoughts and statements right. Even when your partner hasn’t done what you think they have done, you’re likely to find evidence of some sort, no matter how small, to prove your thoughts right. This is how you can mistake your partner’s actions as meaning something they did not, simply because you’d already told your brain to look for the proof that your negative thoughts about their actions were right. With a clean slate, you’re not instructing your brain to find a repeat negative occurrence.
Now let’s look at it in terms of what your comments might be doing to your partner. Subconsciously your statements that are universal statements such as, “you always think of yourself before me” (perhaps because historically they had done so on occasions), actually instruct your partner’s brain to honour this statement.
When you think or talk, you plant seeds; you either plant them in your mind or in both your minds. The first time you have a thought or statement, you plant a seed. Each time thereafter, you water that seed; the more often you water this seed, the greater the chance that it will take root and begin to grow. In other words, by reinforcing this thought or statement you are increasing the chance of it becoming a reality. You know how strong the power of suggestion is on the brain!
Your friends can suggest something, and even though you think you shouldn’t, you might do as they suggest. Hypnosis works on the power of suggestion. For those of you who watch Derren Brown, you will notice how he uses the power of suggestion for different gains. So remember that the statements and accusations that you use with your spouse, will actually be instructing their brain to focus and/or act on it. Like the suggestion, “don’t think about a pink elephant” invariably makes you think about a pink elephant, regardless of whether you’re told to think about it or not think about it, the brain just hears the instruction think about a pink elephant, and so it focuses on it.
Do you really want your partner to focus on the flaws you don’t want them to have???
When you don’t use the clean slate approach and you bring up old issues, you are instructing your partner to think and behave in a way that they have done so in the past, even if they’re not right now.
So, now think about it in terms of your own relationships:
- What negative thoughts from the past do you keep dragging up in your own mind and in your partner’s mind?
- Are you giving your partner the benefit of a clean slate right now or are you still judging them based on past events?
- Is directing both yours and your partner’s focus on these past issues actually giving you more of the same problems in the present moment? Think hard about this.
- Is this focus on negative old issues producing unnecessary tension and arguments in the present?
- Are there certain arguments that you repeatedly have because one of you repeatedly views the other through those obscured glasses?
- What would happen if you changed the lenses in the glasses?
Sometimes we need to take off the bitter, obscured glasses and replace them with clear ones. Clean the slate to clear your view.