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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Trying New Behaviors: Fear & Excitement

Uploaded: Nov 3, 2014
Fear and excitement are on the same spectrum. Consider, in an evolutionary context, of hunters making the approach: fear and excitement. Think of current times, for example, preparing for a big presentation that may help you in your career, or trying to figure out what to say to your spouse about an important topic.

Many people don't want to try new behaviors until the fear of the current situation is worse than the fear of trying a new behavior. We don't want to change our behavior. It's comfortable; normal to us. What if it doesn't help? What if we're not good at it? Why can't we just be ourselves and do what we've always done? However, if what we've always done has given us results we don't want, we need to reconsider.

On the other hand, maybe your excitement will be sparked as things will be better in your relationship. Maybe it will become like old times, when you were happy. So maybe it's not really "new" after all. Perhaps it's like finding yourself again. Perhaps that has been set aside with the practicalities of family and work.

I suggest experimenting and practicing. All new behavior may not be the behavior you need or want. Try new behavior that you figure out on your own, or discuss it with your mate, so s/he knows what you're trying to change, and how. Try things out for at least a month before deciding if this is a good new behavior for your relationship.

Ask your beloved to give you positive feedback for your efforts, even if you fall short at times. Give yourself positive feedback, too. This consists of phrases such as, "I'm doing my best with this." "I'm proud of myself for trying new behavior, even if it's hard for me."

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