Relationships: 3 easy steps to loving without losing your mind
Relationships nourish our soul, spirit, mind, heart…doesn’t matter what you call it. That feeling of commitment towards one another, and the ability to navigate possibly toxic pools of emotions are an essential part of our inner well being – and that directly impacts our outer well being.
Jeffrey Bernstein, in Psychology Today, reminds us that love isn’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship. It’s about understanding, and honoring the evolving needs of our partners in life, or in his words…empathy. Really trying to put ourselves in the other’s shoes.
In addition, Dr. Andrea Bonior reminds us that without forgiveness and an overall positive outlook, we are bound to drive ourselves into despair and bitterness. There are small things we can do on a daily basis to bring ourselves joy and happiness in all aspects of our lives…why not share that with the people we love.
Part of practicing yoga and ayurveda in the modern world is about navigating the circuitous road of life, right in the midst of our chaotic lives. We don’t all get to escape to a retreat in the Himalayas and hibernate until our troubles melt away. It can get complicated and crazy to say the minimum. We aren’t alone on this road, and the people we travel with either hinder us or help us. Here’s hoping for help!
- Let down your guard, if you want it to work. How often do we color our interaction with things that happened in the past, things we think might happen in the future, things we ‘just know’ because…? What if we took each interaction on its own merit? What if we decided that this moment is just that? This moment. Don’t let FEAR decide how you will behave – fear of the past as an indicator of the future, or plain old fear of the future, none of it. Remember that in this moment everything is fine. Be open to this moment, without putting up your defenses. Approach life like a kindergartner would…with earnest curiosity and no judgment.
- Identify what you need, and what the other person needs from that relationship. Cuddles, conversation, companionship, community? Remember, no one person can satisfy all your relationship needs…that is why we have friends and family. And secondly, you cannot receive without giving. A relationship is an exchange, a give and a take, and an imbalance here is the recipe for disaster. So be sure and do your share.
- Compromise is a good thing. Now – right now. You don’t always get to be right, you don’t always get to have your way. But as long as you remember not to put your guard up (rule number 1) and decide to be open to every moment that comes along…you may notice that it isn’t a compromise after all to watch Lethal Weapon and all its sequels for the 653rd time. Now maybe you can laugh at the toilet bomb. Or not. Just shove some organic popcorn in your mouth and chew. Forgo the sarcastic remark.
I know I said three steps but if you are interested in going deeper:
Number four -forgive yourself, and forgive the other person. We all do stupid things, and since we are most likely all humans, we shall continue to do stupid things. Try not to, maybe count to 10, or leave the room. Just as you are trying to find your best life, so is the other person. Besides, guilt uses up valuable energy that can be better used to develop number five on the list.
Number five – (I know, I know…but this one applies to life in general) – laugh. Often. Very often. Maybe even throw in a fake laugh every now and then, see if it doesn’t become a habit. If it didn’t piss you off so much, it was probably kind of funny. Think about it.
Last- something you can do on a daily basis…say something nice, intentionally. Mean it. Period. No further explanation. And since I am a yoga practitioner – not a rule…just a suggestion:
Take a class, use google as a guide, find an app, whatever works. There is a lot out there and it is there for a very good reason. It works – better than anything else. Just remember to let your guard down when you do J