We love the people who matter to us in our lives. But they have flaws and sometimes those same people we love disappoint us. They treat us unfairly or misunderstand our needs, leaving us feeling hurt, angry or let down. Mindfulness skills can be used to help us preserve self-respect in our own relationships and to guide us toward more healthy relationships too.
When your discomfort alarm rings and you find yourself feeling upset about an interpersonal interaction, first notice your experience without critiquing it. Ask yourself, “Is this fair to me?” If someone is asking you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, or if someone’s behavior ignores or dismisses your feelings and needs, this is NOT fair to you!
Then, take notice of what you’re experiencing and what messages this experience might bring you. If you decide that the situation isn’t fair to you, think about whether you REALLY need to apologize to anyone for what is happening. You may have the urge to apologize, or you may wish the situation were different, but overapologizing puts you in a position of compromising your self-respect and taking responsibility for a situation you don’t own. Remind yourself that it’s OKAY to say no! For example, if you really don’t want to go shopping or meet with a friend for lunch, you don’t need to apologize for wanting time to yourself.
Next, take notice of your values for yourself and in a relationship. With many of the adults in sessions, kids and teens in sessions, I work with them to complete a set of standards to write out in clear language all the ways that want, need and deserve to be treated in a relationship. I also have them write a clause for “dealbreakers” or ways in which another might act or treat them which would be cause for terminating the relationship. I would encourage you to think about your own set of standards, or even a family set of standards!
Finally, be truthful with yourself. Holding a Mindful awareness of our experiences helps us to take notice of our truth in a gentle, compassionate, and nonjudgmental way. If you have a friend who behaves in every way you outlined on your dealbreakers list, it’s time to GET REAL! Think about whether there are any problems you can solve with assertiveness skills and in relationships that cannot be repaired or are too toxic, work towards distancing yourself and setting limits.
Relationships can be tricky, especially when you feel lonely or want so desperately to be connected that you may end up keeping people around who aren’t nourishing and positive for you in your life. Weigh and consider how to focus your life’s energy on the people you love and who bring you joy by setting an intention to bring closer to you those who already meet your set of standards.
P.S. We go through these skills in more depth through a 8 session group in Mindfulness Matters!
Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.
**only 5 spaces remain**
Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/c6q6s5
Don’t forget that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the New Year!
Please comment and share what you hope Mindfulness will bring you! Mindfulness, even in small increments, really does matter!