Archive for Relationships

Relaxing the mind: an every day holiday

The most peaceful moment in time is Now. No matter what is going through our heads, we can drop it all at any time, and rest in the Now. The way to do this is to simply be with the task at hand. When stressful, destructive, or upsetting thoughts arise, we release them, and return to whatever we are doing. In this way, resting the attention with an activity provides us with a holiday from our worries, and allows the mind to refresh and rejuvenate.

We all know that things are better after a good night’s sleep. The principle is that taking our mind off things makes us refreshed, relaxed, and able to deal with life positively. Resting the attention with an activity provides the same boost. If we have a fight with our partner and angry retorts and injustices are whirling around in our heads, a great thing to do is wash the dishes. As thoughts of the fight arise, we gently release them, and continue washing the dishes. Whatever issues that we had with our partner will still be there when we finish the dishes – we have plenty of time to deal with them. However, when we finish with the dishes, we may also find that some of those so-called important issues have faded away. Taking our mind off things for a while gives us a great deal more perspective, which almost always results in a more positive outlook.

We all have different activities that we find relaxing in life. Some of us like to go for a run. Others read a book. For some of us, the only time that we take our mind off things is in sleep, and even this may be plagued with dreams or insomnia. The good news is that with a little practice we can find almost anything relaxing. The trick is just to let the attention rest with it – whether it be leisure or work. Even the most unpleasant of tasks is refreshing when we do this.

Destructive emotions reside in the past and the future. When we feel sad or angry, it is not usually related to the task directly in front of us. Although it is definitely important to deal with issues in our life, and to give the mind time to wander and think creatively, it is also important that we can drop things when we choose to do so. During our morning shower, we may contemplate that fight with our partner, and think of how we would like things to be different. This is fine, but if such thoughts continue non-stop throughout the day, we quickly become worn out and irrational. Thinking must be controlled, and perspective must be maintained. The ability to drop thoughts and return to the present moment is one of the most important skills we can ever develop.

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Removing guilt from our relationships

Too often in relationships, we try to make our partner feel guilty. We point out ways in which they made us suffer – perhaps that they kept us waiting for 10 minutes, that they forgot our birthday, or that we do most of the housework. Although it is sometimes important to say such things, it is all too easy to make this a habit. If we are not careful, we can actually find ourselves seeking more ways to make our partner feel guilty.

Why would we want our partner to feel bad? Don’t we love them? Deliberately making them feel guilty is not something we usually do at the start of a relationship. Initially, we do everything we can to win their heart. Why might this habit change?

Generally, we try to make our partner feel guilty in the hope that they will treat us better. However, such an approach not is not grounded in love and will always backfire. If we use guilt as a weapon to attack our partner, the only result will be a loss of love and trust. Although it is sometimes legitimate to explain why they upset us, actively looking for ways to make them guilty is harmful, foolish, yet all too common.

As well as making our partner feel bad, the habit makes us feel bad too. Think about it – if we are continually reciting the hardships we suffer, it will not take long to conclude that life is terrible. To make matters worse, we blame our suffering on our partner, thus ignoring the true cause. We cannot feel good again until we acknowledge the real problem, which is our tendency to focus on our hardships and try to make our partner feel guilty. We must then make an effort to turn this tendency around.

There are a couple of ways to do this. First, we can recognize where we use guilt, and understand that it is a harmful and unloving act against our partner. We can ask ourselves why we do it – what are we really trying to achieve? If our goal is to make our partner love us more and treat us better then we should think of more effective ways to bring this about. Second, we should think about our own mistakes, either in this relationship or in past relationships. Realize how easy it would be for someone to make us feel guilty about all that we have done! When we become aware of all of our own shortcomings, we are more forgiving of our partner’s, and ultimately, forgiveness is the quality that we must display.

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