Hi guys, today I want to share some thoughts about the topic ‘mindfulness’ and how to combine this when it comes to Love. The inspiration of setting a link between those two amazingly interesting topics came from a great meeting I attended last week.
What is mindfulness?
The topic we were talking about during the meetup was mindfulness. We were exchanging ideas, knowledge, own experiences and our very own definitions about mindfulness. This was a great and interesting part of the discussion, as there is no ‘official’ or ‘general’ definition about mindfulness, rather there is a whole bunch of definitions. Which I think is great, as it makes the topic very broad. Everybody gets to pick their own definition and preference about the topic.
I think mindfulness is currently a very popular topic, it seems everybody is talking about awareness, meditation, taking good care of themselves, going to Yoga, taking a meditation class, listening to a mindfulness podcast and so on.
So: ‘What is it? What is mindfulness, anyway?’
As it is a broad topic and no definite, set definition about it, I thought I make my very own definition and combine the great topic and parts of its content with my favorite topic:
Relationships & Love.
During the meetup I heard a very interesting, amazing, great, jar dropping, heart warming quote by James Baraz:
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now
without wishing it were different;
enjoying the pleasant
without holding on when it changes (which it will);
being with the unpleasant
without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
Well?! Don’t you think this is one of the greatest quotes you’ve ever read?
When I heard it, I thought about it like this. This fits to life, to emotions, to planning, to the present, the past, the future, this is one of the very keys to make your life much much easier, if you follow the advice. You can also connect it to love and your relationship which I think can be very powerful.
Connection to Love
Although this quote has its meaning in the context of mindfulness, I think it perfectly fits to love and relationships as well. Let me explain why.
There is usually trouble in a relationship, right? I mean, not always, but in general, when two people living together, spending intimate moments together, put together their lives, meaning combining their finances, house, meals, future planning, got children and so on, there are still fights and discussion going on from time to time. It is not to be avoided, it comes with the situation.
So, how to deal with these discussions and fights? How to deal with difficult situations within the relationship? How to deal with some rough time you or your partner or both of you are going through?
Assign it to your love life
Try to assign the quote and its meaning to your relationship and love life. There is not a thing you need to hold on to. There is no fight, discussion, bad word said, weird situation you got into, hurting things happened, which it is worth it that you stick to it and NOT let it go. Let it go. Take it as it is and move on. Accept it the way it is. I’m not saying not to find a solution together, if there is a chance a solution can be found. I am saying that this one or several thing(s) holding you back, keeps moaring in your mind, should NOT keep you from being fully and truly happy within your relationship. Don’t stick with negativity within your relationship, that is the message here. Good and bad times come and go, it’ll help if we accept this.
Mindfulness with your emotions – learn to regulate them
I think one thing which is very important when it comes to mindfulness – and to love by the way – is a very big one: Our emotions.
In love and other relationships, as already mentioned, it is common that fights, discussion, misunderstandings and so on, can happen, it is natural. What we can improve though, is the quality of these discussions and the way we treat ourselves and our partner during these discussions.
Let us be honest, nobody likes these moments when things have been said, when situations are not going too well or as we have expected them to go. Sometimes discussions with your partner are not being solved. Oftentimes we can make things easier for us in these kind of situations, through regulating our own emotions. I think we all experienced a situation at least once in our life, where a discussion ended either in tears, or it took on forever like for many hours with no end in sight, you both being mad and hungry and tired. Or somebody said a very rude word or went out of the room with slamming the door etc. Or similar…
Afterwards, you kind of wish that this and that didn’t happen, you wish you didn’t say the word, you didn’t leave the room shouting or whatever. Maybe you also ask yourself: How did this happen?? How could we have let it go that far? Why are we always fighting like this?
Well, there is a way to balance your emotions, which can help you to reduce the pain and the stress during discussions with your partner. Regulating or balancing your emotions can have a positive impact in other parts of your life as well 🙂
Three steps to balance your emotions
In my opinion there are three steps you can take to balance your emotions. When doing so, it will help you in difficult situations, such as a not-going-so-well-disussion with your partner. It has the potential to spread into other parts of your life, improving them, improving your life, improving the way you feel (relief, happiness, other great and juicy stuff) 😉
So let’s see what these three steps are:
Before acting and being able to help yourself, and to balance out any negativity, anger, resentment or anything you want to balance out – first of all you need to create awareness. And this is the first part where mindfulness comes into play.
Mindfulness is about awareness. Being fully aware of yourself. Being aware of the current moment, your life, yourself, your goals in life, your emotions. In this case we talk about awareness of your emotions. Being aware of your very own emotions, in every situation of your life, especially in these fighting, negative situations.
How to be aware? How can you create awareness for your emotions? There are just there, right?
You can check in. Hum?
Checking in with yourself. With your body & your emotions.
This can be practised, for example through asking yourself the following:
How do I feel right now? How do I feel right now during this conversation, during this fight, during this discussion? What is happening inside of me, because of it? What kind of impact does it have on me? Does this give me a headache, back pain, tension in my stomach, am I tired? Do I want to sleep or eat but instead I am sitting here fighting like there is no tomorrow?
Checking in. Which emotions are coming up? Any emotion is allowed, there is no reason to be ashamed of your emotions, at all.
Well, after we are aware of our emotions, after checking in, we know what is going on, right? So we do feel, we do know, we can name it and notice it is there. Ok. It is ok that it is there. It is not there for nothing. The emotion is there to show you something about yourself. Maybe they offer you a chance to learn something about yourself, the situation, the environment or anything else. Let’s see.
So we created awareness. What is next?
The next, very important step is to define the needs. Which needs?
Your very own. Needs.
So, we have noticed now that we are feeling angry, sad, mad, resentful, anxious, whatever it is, you name it. What is it you need right now, when you are in this emotion? What is it you need in order to make you feel back to good, calm, relaxed, positive? What need do you have? Emotionally, physically, psychologically? It can be as simple as just getting a 10 minutes break from the situation you are in. It can be as simple as getting a cup of tea. It can be a deep breath. It can be laying down for 5 minutes. It can be opening up a window to get some fresh air. It can be giving your partner a hug (while during a fight, you should ask him whether it is ok to get / give a hug as some people need to be physically distant when being in a fight).
What is it you need? How to find out, if you struggle with it? Well, again, check in. Check in with yourself, and ask yourself, ask your inside: What is it that I need? Listen. Listen carefully, the answer will come eventually.
When you managed the first two steps, congratulations! You are almost there! The first two steps are quite a challenge, so don’t push yourself too hard or be angry when it takes time to practise.
You can compare it to going to the gym. When going there the first time you may not be able to lift the heaviest weight. But if you keep on going to the gym and keep on practising, you will be able to lift it after a period of time. So it needs time, it needs time to develop itself and rise up.
This step is also important. Fulfillment. You have just become aware of your emotions, afterwards you have noticed your needs. Now comes the part of fulfillment. Fulfill your needs. Try to fulfill them as good as possible, in the very moment. This is the important part. Don’t push it into “sometime” in the future, no, you should be able to do it right now with the resources you have at hand in this very moment. Otherwise it won’t work. If it is a need which is kind of big and not possible to fulfill right now, try to find something else, which is also good enough and gives you a relief of the negative emotion as well. The “little” things mentioned above like taking a deep breath or just taking a break of the fight and the other mentioned things, they are easy to fulfill immediately. As they are easy to fulfill, they will also help you immediately, which is what this is all about, to make you feel better.
Feel the impact. Isn’t this great? When being able to do the mentioned steps, I am sure you feel it. The light, the energy, the positivity, back into your body, your emotions are getting lose again, they are relieved. Enjoy it – celebrate it and especially: Be fu**** proud of yourself!!! You just managed yourself, your emotions, you just regulated your own emotions from a negative one into a positive one. You were close to being Buddha himself! 😉
I think it is a great tool to help yourself in a lot of difficult situations you want or need to handle. Also, this tool you can use your whole life, it is something which can accompany you in all parts of life, as emotions are always a part of us human beings.
Here are some other aspects of mindfulness which you can combine with your love life:
Being in the moment – being with your partner
Another interesting aspect of mindfulness in your love life is the “being in the moment” part. Here, I do not mean the physically being “with”, meaning sitting next to your partner, I rather mean being emotionally, psychologically and with all your senses, being with your partner. Being there, where he or she talks about something going on, for example. Be there, listen, be empathic, be there and enjoy, you can be proud your partner chose you to talk to, be there with all you have got. With all the good, love, taking care. You can also call this: Pay attention 😉 But it think truly being in the very moment, especially with yourself and with your partner, goes much deeper than “just” paying attention. It is more, there are emotions involved. It takes much more effort and energy than just listening and paying attention. It is to be there with your heart. Being there is also important when being in a fight, it is important to be there with your mind, and not watching TV or checking your cell phone every two minutes. Also, during nice situations, for example when doing something nice together, enjoying free time together. You can also “be in the moment” – and try to fully enjoy the moment and the time together.
Another big one is focus
Focus is also a big aspect of mindfulness. How to combine this with your love life?
For example you focus your love on your partner and not on somebody else. Or you focus on the situation you two are in at the moment. Maybe you have kind of a battle to fight, such as an illness, a difficult conversation, money issues, not the same opinion on life planning or any other topics to deal with. There is always something to deal with, right? 😉
Whilst being in such kind of a situation, you may feel depressed, anxious, unhappy, unsecure, isolated or maybe just angry or lonely.
What you can do is to focus on the good. Focus on the goods things within your relationship. Think about the time in your love life you were truly happy with your partner. For a lot of couples it helps to think about the time they started dating, they started to get to know each other. You can also think about the last vacation you took together, or the last dinner you had together, the last time you both laughed out loud together. The last time you walked hand in hand. Remember the good, and think about it. Put your focus on the good. Whatever it is you love about your partner, think about it. Let the good rise and let this great, positive thoughts take more space in your relationship, not the difficulties you may have at the moment.
With focus you can also try to focus on yourself. Focus on self love. Focus on taking good care of yourself so that you can take good care of your partner and the relationship as well.
Love is the answer,