Having a Growth Mindset in Relationships
How Mindset can impact our relationships
How does mindset impact relationships? More than you realize. Having a fixed mindset can hinder our relationships with ourselves, our children, our spouses and others.
(For more on mindset in general, see my last post, here)
One of our primary relationships is with ourselves, and one of the aspects of this relationship we tend to ignore is our past selves. If we have a fixed mindset in regards to our past selves, it can lead to depression. The phrase “I should have…” looks back on our past with lamenting, regretting our lack of effort and actualization. A person with a growth mindset, on the other hand, can look back on their life and say “I gave it my all and am proud of my effort.” Instead of complaining about the deficiencies in our lives, we can use our minds to imagine and plan ways to grow into and fill these areas of our lives. A growth mindset can heal our past and enrich our present and future.
It is so essential that we have this mindset with our loved ones, too. For one, we lead our children by example. Our children need to be encouraged to stick to things that are difficult and develop their skills as well as their character. In her book (Mindset), Dweck speaks of people praised for their skills instead of their effort and how that leads to underperformance due to fear of failure. With our children, we need to praise their effort, not their outcome. Effort is something they can always give and will translate to improvement. On the flipside, if something comes very easily to them, apologize for not challenging them enough, and try to find something that will challenge them more next time.
I think there is a fixed mindset that creeps into our marriages. For example, a spouse who thinks, “You’re just a slob,” limits expectations and gives their spouse permission to stay in that role. Instead, voicing concerns in another vein such as, “Our house has become quite messy; I’d appreciate it if you would help me keep it clean,” provides higher expectations, hope for change, and a joint plan of action. A growth mindset can give permission and encouragement to our spouses as well as our children, and help them become the best version of themselves.
How is your mindset in your relationships? Are you resigned to “the way things are” or can you see hope for growth? I encourage you to think of the ways you can change your mindset to impact your relationships for the better.