Love, one of the most profound emotion known to human beings and yet, we are not getting the full benefits. There is a way to love your partner on an even deeper, more conscious level than you do already now. There is a way to connect even more with each other’s love, needs and desires and grow into a unity. There is a way to master an always-available skill that allows us to calm ourselves down when distressed and to create a higher level of relationship happiness. Are you falling already in love with what I am suggesting? Lovely, because in this piece I will engulf you with the love of mindfulness and the lovely techniques mindfulness has to offer which you can apply to your romantic relationship!
Let’s first figure out what mindfulness is all about. Well, mindfulness is a mental state created by the ability to focus once awareness in the present moment. It is about being here in this moment now, aware of what you are experiencing rather than to live in the past or to think about the future. The past is already gone and the future has already been taking care off. The only thing that matters is right now. The benefit of mindfulness, living in this moment and being more aware of what you are experiencing right now, is the opportunity to respond differently in certain circumstances, as you are aware of your thinking and you can control your responses.
Would this not be a great tool to use in your daily life to achieve better outcomes in your romantic relationship? Instead of instant, uncontrolled and emotional responses when a situation arises, you would be able to feel your emotions without reacting in the moment and have the ability to think about how you would like to respond with balanced emotions.
Of course, it is easy to say I want to be here, right here in this moment fully aware of what I am experiencing and in control of my emotions. How do you get there when our mind always wonders off, never stays in one place and is always fluctuating? We are constantly thinking and all this thinking leads to frustration, stress, depression, anxiety and worrying about the future. Isn’t that a shame, when really all we have is this present moment? The same applies to our romantic relationships. We hold on to our past emotional pain and the one person who can trigger this pain is our present romantic partner. We say something in the heat of the moment that we later deeply regret or we take off our frustrations on the person we love the most. We suppose to feel love and joy, but we get confronted with hurt, anxiety and stress.
This needs to change. We need to start being aware of the present moment in our relationship and the emotions that come along with it, so we are able to respond in a balanced and mature way. This will increase the happiness in our relationship and will strengthen the bound we have with our romantic partner.
Time to take action and reach this mental state of present moment awareness. How? Well, in the same way as everything else you want to achieve in life… by practicing! The good news is that mindfulness is a skill that we can easily integrate into our life and everybody is able to do it.
The secret to this successful, healthier and happier romantic relationship, or as we should call it now this mindful love affair, lies in the ability to be more mindful in the interaction with each other.
The commandments are very simple, but need practice and commitment from both partners.
- You shall take a step back, pause and reflect. What is your partner really saying to you? What is he or she really experiencing? What has triggered your partners upset? What is he or she really asking of you? Take the time to figure this out before you react.
- You shall react in a constructive manner. If you are not able to react in a constructive manner (this means a manner in which you acknowledge your partner’s upset, process, understand and respect it before expressing your thoughts) take a break and do an activity that will help you to calm down. Maybe a few deep breaths or taking a walk can be useful. Please inform your partner about your intention to take a break to be able to come back with a constructive reaction, instead of leaving him or her in limbo.
- You shall not cause your partner any unnecessary hurt, nor shall you take any actions in your own self-interests. Communication needs to be done clearly and from the heart. One lash-out to your romantic partner or selfish behavior from your end destroys the trust to build this mindful unity of you.
- You shall practice mindfulness in all areas of your life. Mindfulness is not only a very good tool in your romantic relationship, but can also enhance the relationships you have with others and help you to communicate better at work or with your friends and family. It can help you to become the person that you want to be and to reach your personal goals.
As I mentioned before, mindfulness starts in our mind and it takes action and practice to achieve mindfulness and its benefits. It is not about ignoring our feelings or emotions. It is about experiencing all our emotions from a distance, without getting involved, and chose which emotion we want to use in our responses. When we are able to observe our emotions from a distance, these emotions will flow through us, but we will feel this inner peace, this strong stability within ourselves in who we are and how we respond to certain situations. Mindfulness creates a moment that allows us to distance ourselves from the situation that distresses us.
When you work mindfully together in your romantic relationship, you will be able to understand each other better, instead of feeling the need to defend yourself towards your romantic partner, turn yourself against him or her or point out their flaws.
The key here is to be mindful in all aspects of your life first to create a mindful, romantic relationship. As we know, you can only love someone else, if you first love yourself. This also applies to mindfulness.
Meditation is a very effective method to achieve knowledge about your thoughts. Meditation makes you slow down and pay attention to them. Which will result in recognizing the thoughts that are not beneficial to you, the negative thoughts that unconsciously rule our life and are working against us. By being aware of these thoughts we can consciously not allow them anymore to be part of our life and consciously opt for these thoughts that benefit our romantic relationship, our life and us.
The more we practice, the more we become mindful which leads to inner emotional control, peace and easier release of stress and tension in our daily life. As we gain more power over our thoughts, we gain more power over our actions and responses. We become the captain of our ship and steer it where we want it to go, instead of letting our emotional waves decide the course.
Maitha E. Coninx – Life Coach and writer of the book Maitha’s Way Of Life. www.maithaswayoflife.com