This is an important skill to have in all aspects of our lives, but especially in our relationships. When we can be self aware, we are able to better understand how we are reacting to situations and why. This skill brings insight into our decision making and how we show up in the world. We can then work on changing our reactions if they are not serving us well. In this blog post, we will discuss how to practice mindful self awareness and how it can help improve the quality of our relationships.
By being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and triggers, we can better understand ourselves and relate to others in a more compassionate way. This creates a space for understanding and connection that did not exist before. Bringing mindfulness into our daily lives allows us to slow down and appreciate all the moments along the way- including those within our relationships!
When we are in a romantic relationship, it is important to be aware of our own needs and wants, as well as the needs and wants of our partner. Oftentimes, we may not even be aware that we are expecting something from our partner that they may not be able to give us. For example, you might need your partner to let you know plans ahead of time and not spring things on you last minute. If your partner does not give this advance notice, you may feel frustrated or angry. You may express this by being short with them, getting loud, or bringing up past arguments. If you bring awareness to what is underneath this anger, you may learn that you feel disrespected by the lack of consideration. Reflecting on when else this occurred in your life, you can make the connection that growing up your input was not valued and you didn't have control over your time. If you know this is the root of your anger, then when this happens in the future, you can ask for what you need instead of getting upset. You can share this with your partner so they can better understand your frustration. This is an example of where self awareness can help us to understand our own needs and wants in a relationship, and then communicate them to our partner.
Another example of the benefits of self awareness is recognizing in which social settings you become easily drained and how to prepare yourself. If large gatherings with strangers or acquaintances feel exhausting after a while, taking small breaks throughout the day can be helpful. If you prefer smaller groups than having one on one coffee meetings could be more beneficial to meeting new people instead of large networking events. Notice that there is no judgment or shame associated with this insight, only using this information to your advantage.
When practicing mindfulness, there are certain things you can do to help improve your relationship. The first step is learning how to be mindful of yourself and others- this means paying attention without judgment or criticism; just simply listening or observing with compassion! This will allow us all to better understand our own emotions as well as those around us (even if they don’t seem like it at first glance). You may start by taking five deep breaths before responding. When practicing observing without judgment, we avoid creating stories around what we think something means. Being non-judgmental of this insight is essential in gaining confidence and not getting stuck in how you think you “should” be feeling or behaving. This allows us to be more open to several possibilities, accepting of ourselves and more likely to be curious about our experience than respond in the same unhelpful ways from the past.
Here are some steps in learning how to be become more self aware:
-Notice your body and mind in different situations. What are you feeling? Thinking?
-Name the emotion you are having and where you feel that in your body.
-Start to become more mindful of your reactions. Are they helpful or harmful?
-Observe yourself when interacting with others. How do you communicate with your partner, friends, and family members? What works well for you and what doesn't.
-Look for any common themes in your emotions, reactions, and responses around certain people or situations.
-Ask yourself if this emotional response or feeling feels familiar to you, or when you felt this in the past.
-What can you do to work through this feeling or emotion in a healthy way?
Sometimes it is easy to get triggered in situations when it comes to our romantic life. When we have awareness of what we need, what triggers us, and brings up certain feelings, we can better express this to others. This also allows us to be intentional with our time, energy, and responses to others. When boundaries are crossed or tested, we can react with more ease and calmness rather than letting our emotions take over. We have control over how we want to show up in our relationships- thus having a positive impact on the quality of our relationship.
The insight we gain from being mindful of our internal worlds, gives us the power of choosing how we want to respond and preventing unnecessary harm or burnout in the future. Accepting ourselves through the process of self awareness is the best gift you can give to yourself and relationships.
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