One of the magic tricks of the human brain is this: What you look for, you find. That goes for good news, bad news, and blue Toyota Camrys (if you happen to be in the market for one).

Pair that ancient knack for spotting patterns with your brain’s hard-wired negativity bias, and you’ve got a bona fide flaw-finding machine. This can be handy when you’re arguing a case or scanning for typos, but when you make spotting problems your default view of others and the world, it can take a toll on your mindset—and your relationships.

“Focusing on someone’s flaws is a form of negative thought-patterning, which has been shown to slow down brain coordination, interrupt creative ability, tank your mood, and make it difficult to problem-solve,” says Suzanne Kingsbury, creator of the Gateless Method for busting through blocks and generating creative work.

Not only that, if you’re in the habit of pointing out flaws to people every time you talk to them, guess how happy they are to hear from you? (More on why traditional feedback doesn’t work the way you’d think.) We’re far better served by challenging that tendency.

Here are five ways to shift your attention from what doesn’t work to what does.

1. Sit with it a minute. 

It’s one thing to point out a critical error right before a presentation. But chances are, what rubs us the wrong way does so regularly. Rather than allow yourself to get caught up in it (again), or point it out for the 50th time, Kingsbury says first, do nothing. “It’s a given that people, and the mistakes they make, will drive you crazy. Let yourself have that moment of recognition when it happens,” says Kingsbury. But you don’t have to announce it. Rather than get caught up in I/they thinking (“Why are they always doing this to me?!”), recognize the reaction you’re having before you take any action.

2. Zoom out to the bigger goal. 

Regardless of what you think of someone’s work (or habits, or personality), find ways to see them outside of and beyond the flaw itself—such as what you’re both trying to do in the larger context of your department or relationship. How are your and their efforts helping achieve a larger company goal, serve a greater need, or promote a positive mission? This keeps flaws and flaw-finding a minor aspect, and not worthy of all your attention, all the time.

3. Find another way to feel smart. 

For the ego, flaw-finding can be a shortcut to self-confidence, as it allows us to feel we’re better by being in the right. Unfortunately, it also sets up a zero-sum game in which you can only feel good about yourself when someone else is wrong. Give yourself another way to feel confident beyond being Chief Flaw Finder—such as championing and supporting others’ work. Or raise the bar on your own work and believe it stands on its own, regardless of what anyone else does.

4. Challenge the flaws.

You can begin to train your brain out of this knee-jerk tendency. “Every time you’re painfully aware of a flaw or problem, make it a point to find at least one, if not several, things that that person does right,” says Kingsbury. Maybe this person is a really hard worker or has a specific skill you respect. Maybe he’s not organized, but he’s incredibly generous. Go even further and identify a quality in that person that you might benefit from embodying more yourself.

5. Call out the good—in detail.

In Kingsbury’s Gateless workshops, criticism and flaw-finding are forbidden; participants listen to each others’ work and comment only on what they love. This isn’t about flattery, she says, but about giving feedback that’s actually constructive, because it points out what to lean into, not what to avoid. More powerful than saying “good job” is getting specific about what you liked (“I love how you handled that client issue without losing your cool” or “You have a gift for finding just the right words to say under pressure.”) This not only makes the other person feel seen but has the added benefit of priming you to see the good in your own work.

While we rarely forget when we’ve been called out, we have a long memory for when people acknowledge what we’re capable of and what we’ve done well.