Happy, healthy relationships … with yourself and others
Relationships are the bedrock of life. Nourishing. Fulfilling. Enjoyable. Engaging. Supportive. Of course, they can be challenging, too. All manner of complications, conflict, and resentment can be caused by miscommunication, misunderstandings, disagreements, and dysfunctional patterns, not to mention the pressures of everyday life.
It’s not hard to see why. Two people coming together is a meeting of minds — different people, different ways of thinking, and different sets of values, beliefs, and ideas rooted in very different childhoods and life experiences.
While holidays like Valentine’s Day might well be a celebration of love and romance, they also present a great opportunity to go inward and do some self-work with all relationships in mind: your spouse, partner, relatives, friends, and colleagues, even yourself. It’s in our minds where the seeds of any healthy relationship are found, and it’s through meditation that we can help to cultivate more harmonious relations with those who matter most.
Think for a second how it feels to be around someone stressed, angry, grumpy, or impatient.
Now think about being around someone genuinely happy, content, and at ease with themselves. The difference is stark. So ask yourself: how do you want your friends to feel when they’re around you? Considering the happiness of others might seem counterintuitive at first, but this truth of mindfulness invites a switch of perspective because the more we provide the conditions for happiness in others, the more likely we’ll breed happiness in our relationships.
This does not mean relegating what’s important to us, neglecting our own happiness, or being self-sacrificial in any way. Far from it. This is more about recognizing the balance in a two-way street. In training the mind, we learn about who we are and what we need — which helps us to set compassionate boundaries — and we also learn that the happiness of those closest to us is not separate from our own. The more we can see this, the more we are able to set up the conditions in which healthy relationships can thrive.
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