Do you often find yourself arguing with your partner over the same old things, going round in circles and getting nowhere?
All relationships have their own pattens, and patterns mean that habits are formed in the way we conduct our relationships - habits of seeing, thinking about and talking to someone in a particular way.
'Mindfulness on the other hand,' writes Padraig O'Morain, 'encourages us to step out of tired patterns and to see our realtionships with new eyes. A great deal of minfulness practice involves pausing in the middle of the rush of life - and a mindful pause before speaking or acting can change the entire tone of a relationship for the better.'
Here are a few examples from Padraig's book, Mindfulness On The Go, to give you some pause for thought:
- When you meet your partner at the end of the day's work, pause to take in how they really are before you dish out a standard greeting
- If you're about to criticise, pause to consider if, in the past, criticism has really achieved anything. Perhaps it often hasn't, in which case why make matters worse by criticising now? Could you find a softer way to say what you want to say?
- Fighting over old familiar issues is a waste of time. Your partner may say something to you that is simply not worth the effort of arguing with, and you need to be able - now and then - to shrug off their negative opinion of you or your behaviour - like a dog shaking off water. This is different to stonewalling or becoming silently defensive, and mindfulness will help you to do it more easily.
- We have all, from time to time, had reason to wish we'd kept our mouth shut for a few seconds and not said something that made matters worse. Silence, we seem to have to keep reminding ourselves, is golden - even for the few seconds it takes to replace an unhelpful response with one that's more constructive. Practising mindfulness cultivates the ability to spot the opportunity for that mindful pause before it's too late.
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