It's important to maintain mindfulness of your partner's good qualities, even if you're convinced, thanks to toxic thinking, that he or she has too few. Focusing on the good helps you keep that important "big picture" in perspective. Remaining aware of his or her strong points helps you stay mindful of the value of your relationship, and your partner's worth, to develop healthy alternatives to toxic thoughts. The following exercise from my book, Why Can't You Read My Mind? takes just five to ten minutes; it will help you keep the big picture of your relationship in focus:

Make a list of your partners strengths and weaknesses.

Every day, for fourteen days, add a positive quality to your partner's list of virtues. Share each virtue with him or her. What a gift this is!

Doing this demonstrates to your partner that you are paying attention and enjoying the qualities that are uniquely his or hers. At the same time, you are training yourself to enjoy what your partner already offers to you and not longing for what he or she has yet to become. Remember that mindful appreciation is valuing what you already have!

To take this exercise further, ask yourself, "out of all these fine qualities of my partner, which do I value the most? " Make sure you appreciate this quality each day. How would your life be different if your partner lacked this quality? There is nothing like the magic of putting pencil to paper, especially when it comes to valuing your partner!

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