MINDFUL RELATIONSHIPS by Karen Atkinson, MindfulnessUK
Interpersonal Mindfulness, the art of mindful communication and listening can impact in a significantly positive way, supporting our health and well-being.
We experience ourselves as separate entities, but the practice of meditation and Mindfulness brings us much more in touch with the common humanity we all share. As social animals most of us spend a great deal of time interacting with others and each person we interact with, be it at home, work, socially, or elsewhere, whether the relationship is good or difficult, can provide a doorway to a new world.
Despite our commonalities, as we know, people can be an enormous stress in our lives. Positive emotions help us feel connected, whereas negative feelings such as dislike, hate, being critical or judgemental, anger, resentment, intolerance, envy or jealousy – these all have their roots in feelings of separation. Sometimes it can be the people we are most intimate with that cause us the most stress, maybe because there is more of a sense of responsibility or that they know you so intimately that they know which buttons to press.
We not only develop ingrained, habitual styles of thinking as we develop, but also habitual ways of interacting with others. If these patterns are based on dysfunctional parent-child relationships, they may result in dysfunctional relationships with family, co-workers and others in your life today.
Mindfulness brings awareness to the dysfunctionality of relationships- their origins and how they manifest now. It helps to recognise and understand the past, acknowledging and validating experiences. Compassion practices help to soften around our behaviour and reactivity, allowing a sense of security, strength, patience, empathy and wisdom to manifest.
Meditation practice develops the qualities that help us put others' needs and feelings above our own, such that we take happiness from the joy and happiness of others as much as - or more than, even - from our own.