Familiarity Breeds Contempt


As we spend time in the same city, with the same job, with the same spouse, the same children and in the same old house we may fall victim to criticizing and resenting those gifts which now appear like burdens.

You may be complaining about your children’s untidiness or your partner’s bad habits. Or criticize your home and your job that you now take for granted. 
Familiarity breeds contempt. 

When you start taking things for granted and things appear rote, tired and downright redundant it is time to pause and focus on what you are grateful for. Look at your surrounding as if you were looking at them with fresh eyes. For example, sometimes I will pretend that I am on vacation in my own city and I will walk around, or even get on a bus, and pretend I am a tourist. How about going on a date with your spouse and pretend you are meeting for the first time. Also, when you play with your children you can pretend you are just borrowing them for awhile (which is true, by the way).

Did you know that when we start criticizing the things we love it can actually gather momentum and before you know there will be contempt for those you love. If love has turned into contempt according to Dr. Gottman it is 94% likely to end up in divorce. 

So before your same job, spouse, child or home gets on your nerves look at those things as unfamiliar and as if you were looking, feeling, touching, tasting and sensing these gifts for the first time. Become mindful and grateful and then familiarity will breed deep appreciation.

Melissa Heller2016