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Sometimes we come home after a tiring day, and tend to react our stress at our partner. But when you think of it, wouldn’t it be nicer to come home and be able to relax and have a great time, rather than letting small instances negatively influence our time at home? Reflecting on your behaviour could help you be more aware of this and make your evenings together nicer!

Example: when you come home, you find your partner’s shoes behind the frontdoor, instead of in the shoerack. You already had an exhausting day, and the shoes bother you a lot. Your initial respons might be to tell your partner, in an annoyed way, to put the shoes in the correct place instead of always leaving them lingering around.

This is easier said than done. One of the things I advise my clients is to keep note of these kind of situations, for example in the following way: make four columns and write from left to right: Situation, Reaction, Reflection, Alternative Reaction. For example Situation: I came home and found the shoes behind the doors. Reaction: I was very irritated and accused my partner of not looking after his things. I ignored him the rest of the evening. Reflection: I was very tired, but there was no need to fight about the shoes. It’s not the end of the world that they were not in place. Alternative reaction: I could have put the shoes in the shoerack myself, and not let it influence our evening.

After some time writing down the situations, you will automatically start reflecting on your own behaviour without the need to write it down.

Esther is an assistant psychologist at Willingness. She works with adults and couples. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on esther@willingness.com.mt.