Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years, it is only relatively recently that it has been adopted by western psychotherapists, counsellor’s and other mental health professionals for issues such as anxiety, depression and stress.
Mindfulness skills are very helpful in our relationships because the foundations of a good relationship should be treating and caring for our partner, being mindful. If we are kind to one another, then love will grow or return to our relationship.
So what exactly is mindfulness?
- Mindfulness is all about ‘living’ in the moment
- Giving your partner the attention they need
- Becoming aware of and fully engaged in our own feelings, our environment and the significant people in our lives.
It allows us to to experience our lives and our relationships with a fresh perspective. It allows us the opportunity to explore our thoughts, feelings and behaviours in the moment they are happening. It offers us the opportunity to change, correct or modify our thoughts, actions and words and create a better end result based on increased self awareness. This may at this point sound alien because in our modern, busy lives we are used to doing the opposite, being in a mindless, chaotic state of mind.
Mindlessness is best described as being on auto-pilot; not paying conscious attention to what we are thinking or what is really happening and responding to situations or people in a distracted, mechanical, unthinking or unconscious way.
For example, if you cooked a special meal for you and your partner, but you barely noticed how good the food was, or or remember the actual conversation because your minds were busy thinking about other (not in the moment) things, then you could be described as being in a mindless state.
We can also be in a mindless state when we are potentially talking about important relationship issues or problems, sometimes our defenses can leap to the fore, maybe we focus more on what we think they are saying, or we are too busy thinking about how we will deflect or fight our corner to listen actively.
The biggest problem with being mindless in our relationships is that, in the heat of the moment, we often forget our partner is just hurting as much or more as we are and experiencing emotional pain and frustration, just as we are. Their need is to be listened to and heard, to be understood and ultimately they want to be happy. Often when two people need to be listened to and understood, discussions can and often do turn into arguments and emotional hurting with mindless words being flung around in the heat of the moment.
Healthy, good relationships require time, care and attention and they can often break down if we stop caring and behaving from a conscious mind, It’s sad but understandable that our need to protect ourselves from what is perceived to be an attack is often more important than our ability to get our emotional needs met by being mindful with our partner.
3 Great tips for creating a mindful relationship:
- The most important relationship we ever have is the relationship we have with ourselves, this concept is often a real difficult one for people to get their heads around, but if we can’t accept, value and love ourselves, then how can anyone else. So, learn how you think, feel and behave, study your inner working model, or what makes you tick, get to know and understand your triggers, and what hurts you.
- Demonstrate how you would like to be treated, by treating your partner in a caring, loving and respectful way. Be mindful of your partners feelings and relationship needs, they may well be different from your own needs. Showing appreciation and validation can kick start a new relationship phase and in turn leads to a real emotional connection. If you don’t like rejection, then make sure that what you do doesn’t make your partner feel rejected. Your aim should be to getting more of your needs bet by meeting more of your partners needs.
- Forgive yourself for making mistakes, research shows that when you feel you are allowed to make mistakes, you are significantly less likely to actually make them. When you do make one be accountable, repair any damage caused to your relationship, for instance if you know you have been grumpy with your partner, reach out and acknowledge this. If you can forgive your own mistakes, forgive your partners mistakes too.
If you have found this article useful please check back in again tomorrow when I will post more on mindfulness in our relationships. If you would like to chat to an online counsellor about your relationship problems, please feel free to contact me.
Thanks for reading. You may also find my recent post ‘relationship rescue‘ interesting.
Written by Paul Parkin – online counsellor and life coach.
24th April 20013