Mindfulness Hack #17: Love the One You're With (even when you don't feel like it)

January 24, 2019

We are in relationship with everything and everyone around us, like it or not.

Relationships can be really tough - we see people we love doing things we hate, and we are often permanently connected to people we would rather release from our lives. Whatever the situation, we get to master the moment and love the one we’re with.

I have two young girls who are the center of my universe. Their dad and I divorced about 7 years ago, when my youngest was only a year old. When we split, we agreed on two things: never talk bad about each other to the girls, and never bring around people we were dating, unless/until it was getting serious. We’ve done a damn good job of upholding those two agreements, and the rest of the time, well, I guess I could say it puts my mindfulness to the test. For the sake of our children, we are glued together for life. So how am I going to deal with that, and keep my sanity? I find a way to love him still and accept him for who he is.

So let’s be real here. This is one of the hardest hacks on the list. Sometimes you just wanna get violent and the torent inside is strong enough to call forth a tsunami.

How do I deal with it? I go within. I take my breathes. I say my mantra. I practice ho'oponopono: I’m sorry; I love you; thank you; please forgive me. I find something to offer gratitude for and then...I think of my girls. What is the alternative? To wallow in my misery and hand over my power by being angry and resentful? What would that do for me, other than weaken my energy and detract from my time with and attention to my girls? To me, totally not worth. My girls are number one, and anything that is going to stand in the way of being the best mom possible is just straight up not worth it.

We all have our fair share of loved ones with substance abuse issues, coworkers that annoy the hell out of us, bosses that treat us like shit, or crazy-ass neighbors that we wish we could just call the cops on to haul away. But again, where does that leave us? Sometimes, it’s most definitely right to call for help when it’s beyond your abilities; but sometimes, it’s a matter of us learning how to deal with the shit their actions (or inactions) stir up in us. What is it that’s bothering us the most about the situation? What is reflected back at us when we’re feeling so frustrated by the other?

Try This…

At some point, when I wanted to scream with anger, I developed a mantra to help manage my emotions, gain some understanding, and find empathy. It’s not some technique I learned in a class or read in a book - it was just something I intuitively tried. And it worked for me. Actually, still works for me. I use it quite often and apply it in a variety of situations - at the office, with family, etc.

If you have a challenging relationship, give this a try and let me know how it works out for you! It wasn’t some magic, instant cup of soup but rather a true mantra that deepened for me over time as I really began to understand what I was chanting in my mind (and sometimes out loud. Like really out loud!). When you want to explode, take some breaths and chant this or something like it:

This is her/his path. This is her/his journey. S/He is doing the best s/he possibly can.

If you really wanna get ninja, then try it this way:

Deep inhale, and on the exhale say: This is her/his path.

Deep inhale, and on the exhale say: This is her/his journey.

Deep inhale, and on the exhale say: S/He is doing the best s/he possibly can.

When you inhale, you are bringing in fresh breath and when you exhale, you are releasing toxins. Anger, frustration, resentment - those are all toxins. So when you say those words, you are releasing this person’s hold on you (or rather...your hold on them!)

Repeat 100 times over if needed. Breath through it. Use it to stay grounded in love and empathy. Know (and be glad) that their path is different from yours.

For My Educators:

Lord knows, being an educator means you are dealing with all sorts of personalities, some more challenging than others. The teacher two rooms down, admin that focuses so heavily on data you feel like your drowning in benchmarks, or that lovely little child that can’t seem to keep his mouth shut. Like ever. If you are a high school teacher, you are seeing upwards of 120 students per day. If you are admin at a large middle school, you are greeting possibly 1400 students at the gate every morning. You can try to reframe the above mantra this way:

We are all on our own path.

This is our journey.

We are all doing the best we can.

Say it every morning before the day begins, or right before your most challenging group. Get grounded in that love and remember, it’s totally possible that someone else is saying that same mantra with you in mind!

Game Changer:

After a bad breakup, I found a guided meditation by Love Expert Kathryn Alice. It’s called Releasing a Person and I’ve actually used it help me let go of other bad relationships too, including toxic relationships with food and money.

Ho‘oponopono is a Hawaiian forgiveness process and you can read about it all over the Internet or at your local bookstore. It’s definitely a game-changer. Saved my ass a bunch of times, no doubt.

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