Mindfulness & Relationships

When you hear the term mindfulness what are your first thoughts?

When I hear mindfulness I automatically think if the phrase “Mindfulness and Meditation”. I think creating an awareness of myself and my feelings to create better interactions with others. When I am mindful of where I am at in that moment of time and how my reaction determines how the scene can play out with my significant other, I am acutely more aware of what I should say and how I should say it.

In relationships this can be a key factor in recognizing the space you need at time to get out of a funk, it can definitely help in those moments of anger, creating an awareness of the impact that your words and actions in the heat of the moment. Think of the arguments you’ve had with your partner. Think of the many times your words were taken out of context making the situation more worse as the argument wore on. Now think of how differently the situation would have been if you were more mindful of your words and actions. If you were more in tune with how you were feeling and put that into words instead of shouting out the first thing that came to mind.

There are many articles out there based on this topic but the one I enjoy the most is from the Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/mindfulness-relationships_b_3333709.html This article is very relate-able and gives great examples and even better explanations on how mindfulness and meditation can help improve the conditions in your relationship, how it creates better and more open communication with your other half, it gives room for more empathy and, it also gives room for bonding experiences between you both.

Working with my own partner in our meditation practices (together and apart) and working on our communication and speaking on just about anything and everything under the sun, even when we get caught up in our own funks and we need to say “I’m not ready to talk yet” (that is something that we are both working and growing in). we are becoming mindful of the effects we have on each other in these funks, mindful of the effect distance is having on each other, mindful of the goals we have for ourselves and each other. We are just a couple very in tune with each other’s mindsets, behaviors, and energies, as you can tell. And we worked with each other to get to this point.

How can you include mindfulness in your relationship?

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Some Self Love Tools

♥Affirmations♥

  • “I cleanse myself of all selfishness, resentment, critical feelings, and self-condemnation. I bathe myself in generosity, appreciation, praise, gratitude, and self-acceptance” – Lidia Frederico
  • “A few steps back means that I have not fallen” JChavae
  • “Today I Affirm: I am confident in my ability to bloom, and I will not stunt my growth with negative self-talk or old bad habits” – Alex Elle
  • “You are worth more than you think, capable of more than you know, and loved more than you can imagine” – Unk.
  • “You are beautiful no matter what they say, words can’t bring you down” – Christina Aguilera

Good Reads

  • Alex Elle – #ANote2Self (self-care journal)
  • Keke Palmer – I Don’t Belong to You
  • Jen Sincero – You Are A Badass
  • Kamal Ravikant – Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on it
  • Alexis Jones – I am That Girl

Articles

  • Self Care tips from Alex Elle here
  • Self Esteem tips here
  • Self Love tips here

Mirror Exercise

Do this exercise every day however long you need to or whenever you want to (I suggest doing this before you start your day and before you go to bed… just throw yourself right into it or once a day to ease into it)

  • 1.  Stand before a mirror (any size) and just look at yourself, do not linger on one area to look. Just really look at yourself and appreciate that you are whole, you are breathing.

    2. “As you look into your eyes in the mirror, begin to say some good and encouraging things about yourself, tell yourself how strong you’ve been and will continue to be, tell yourself how happy you are about what you’ve already achieved and what you will achieve in the future.” – Dr Joe Rubino

    3. Tell yourself “you are amazing, you are good enough, you are a beautiful and an awesome person”

    4. End by saying to yourself “I love you”

I hope this helps you on your journey in loving yourself more, in loving yourself the way you want your partner to love and appreciate you.

What are some useful tips that you can share from your own self love journey in your relationship?

Ways to Love Yourself More

Yesterday, I touched on the topic of Self Care and Loving Yourself. I spoke on my own struggle to accept myself up until my senior year of high school (yes it took that long) and not really care what anyone else though of me (about my 1st or second year of college). It took like 6 months to a year of hubby saying compliments without me shying away and just accepting them. There are days when I don’t feel ‘beautiful’ or I find something wrong with myself but then hubby sends a random text with a ‘hey beautiful’ or just goes ‘i don’t care’ that makes me feel silly.

Any who, I’m just making a list of the strategies I posted yesterday and a few more:

  • Accept yourself as you are now
  • Accept your need to change if necessary 
  • Write daily affirmations and put them where you’ll see them most (bathroom mirror, by the front door, on the fridge)
  • Stand naked in front of the mirror (NAKED or in your underwear), find positive things to say about your body
  • Write in a journal all your great personality traits or characteristics or skills that you love about yourself
  • Ladies try a heels class, pole dancing class, learn something new and sexy outside of your comfort zone
  • Take a spa day, groom yourself (nails, hair, shave/wax)
  • Change your diet up (not go on a diet or a cleanse… choose healthier eating)
  • Go for more water
  • Exercise (at home) in your underwear
  • More yoga (or just stretch, stretching works too) to increase flexibility and posture
  • Meditate
  • Light some candles or incense, cleanse your soul with sage
  • Take a walk and clear your head
  • Know your limits, your strengths, your weaknesses, your boundaries
  • Do some things by yourself (a movie date, museum date, a concert, an expo, a holiday)… trust me sometimes you are your own best company.
  • Random dancing makes anyone feel good (trust me I had a session last night to The Hives & The White Stripes… too much fun)

Say it with me:

“I am worth more than I know, Capable of more than I think, and Loved more than I can imagine”

Love yourself unconditionally as you want your partner to love you.

Love Yourself

In lieu of this week of love, I want to touch on the topic of self love because you cant expect someone to love you when you cant love yourself.

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Self Care starts with loving yourself!

Working with youth as both an educator and a non-profit mentor/counselor, I come across many individuals, young and old, who are still uncomfortable with themselves, putting themselves down when others are trying to lift them up, not believing in their own beauty, talents, or smarts.. and it just reminds of the days when I was uncomfortable with myself, I did not like showing skin, wearing dresses or make-up, I felt my limbs were too long, i thought I was too skinny. I hid behind my books and quiet nature until I had my heart broken. After that I gave no fucks and then I continued on finding my voice and shaping my own view of the world.  I stopped needing the validation of others because I simply didn’t care anymore. I became of a more ‘I didn’t ask you’ kind of person.

I did spoken word, lingerie and nude shoots, random photo-shoots, I bought a long ass mirror and touched my body, caressing every curve, looking at all my stretch marks, my scrapes from being a kid, my moles, my tattoos, all my flaws and imperfections and instead of just smiling and shying away from compliments, I started accepting them because I accepted myself.  I accepted everything about myself. I accepted who I was and all I had to offer, because at the end of the day I still have to look and the mirror see me. It’s my reflection that I have to live with.  It took me years to get to this point, the whole fuck you, i’m just gonna do me’ mentality. This is me take it or leave it!

being-mary-jane

If you have to say it to believe it, do like Gabrielle Union on being Mary Jane, write down daily affirmations, place them where you’ll see them the most (bathroom mirrors for example), read and try to stick by that quote for the day.

But having friends and family and your significant other in your corner can help speed up this process. It helps significantly when you can believe what they say is coming from the heart. Just remember family does not have to say kind words to you, they are not obligated to lift you up and make you feel good about yourself, it’s a choice, just as much as you choose to believe what they say.

The mind is a tricky thing when it comes to things about yourself, so jot down what you love about yourself. Why do you love these things? What are you doing to work on things you dont like?

Some individuals I recommend following on IG is Alex Elle, JChavae (apologies, I cannot find any male pages that promote self care on all aspects other than physical fitness, which is a topic that can be discussed another time!)