Pema Chodron teaches “whatever you do you are strengthening that habit".
She goes on to teach that humans so often mindlessly allow habituated thoughts, feelings, and actions to create stress, anxiety, and fear in their lives. Without much awareness about the process, you unconsciously get better at the things that bring us disconnection, loneliness, and pain.
If you have spent more than six months with a partner or lover, you have likely already begun to develop a number of habits — thoughts both good and not-so-generous about the person, feelings both good and not-so-generous, and actions both good and not-so-generous. If you are like many people, you have a slight tendency to focus more on the negative attributes of your beloved over time than on their more charitable qualities.
Subtly, and almost sinisterly, these negative leaning tendencies grow weighty and become a kind of language through which you notice, communicate with, and understand your partner. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that some of these annoyances or complaints aren’t REAL but focusing on them without dealing with them in a healthy and productive manner quite literally makes the system worse.
We have decades of research that support the simple yet profound practices of mindfulness, presence, and gratitude in shifting such negative patterns.
Try this…When you next see your partner, your child, your best friend, notice 7 things that you love about that person.
- Notice the interesting curve of their nose.
- The melody of their voice.
- Their enthusiasm for the hobby they love.
- The way that they continue to show up even in the hard times.
- Get creative and hunt for new ways to see this person. Notice what it disrupts in you when you start to focus on appreciations and gratitude.
Become present more and more often — right in the moment, show up. That means, phone down, eye contact, breathing and seeing this person. Not for the entire day or even an hour but just for 5 minutes. Take their hand, match your breath to theirs, soften into gentle eyes as you look at this person and receive their presence.
Yes, I get that this might sound so *New Age-y* but as I say all day long to my clients…if what you have been doing was working, you wouldn’t be here right now.
If you need additional guidance or support, call us and speak with our fantastic Client Ambassador at 720.457.3342. She is super on-top-of-it and will answer any questions that you have and match you with one of our licensed therapists.
We cannot wait to see you!