Meditation for Better Relationships
We talked a lot about how valuable our attention is these days when everything and everyone is fighting for it. That also makes it the most valuable gift we can give someone—our full attention.
The one activity that making a meditation out of will create the biggest impact in your life is communicating. When you’re able to communicate mindfully, you will increase your happiness tenfold and improve your relationships with the people around you.
The meditation of communication involves three things: deep listening, self check-in, and mindful speaking.
Deep Listening. When a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger is speaking to you, give this person the gift of your full attention. Don’t just hear what they’re saying. Deeply listen to what they’re saying—to both what’s being said and what’s being left unsaid. Give this person the space and time needed to express themselves. As you listen to them, your attention will try to wander off to something else that is happening around you. Or maybe you’ll start to form your response, even before the other person finishes speaking. In doing that, you lose the opportunity to deeply listen and understand the other person.
Self Check-In. One reason we don’t listen to others is that we’re easily distracted by our own feelings and inner chatter. It’s usually always a reaction to what the other person said. It’s important to check in and be aware of these distractions. To know that they’re there, not to judge them but to simply let them go. Being aware of your emotions lets you carefully choose your response instead of reacting on impulse—something we often do when we’re not fully in control of our attention.
Speaking Mindfully. The last part of mindfully communicating is to speak mindfully from a place of empathy and understanding. When you give the other person your full attention and you have listened to the other person, it’s a lot easier to respond in a way that won’t cause hurt and pain.
“The most valuable gift you can give someone is your full attention.” – Tweet this.
The Practice: Mindful Conversations
Mindful conversations can be done with any—and should be done with every—conversation. The three parts are deeply listening to the other person, checking in with your emotions, and paying attention to the words that come out of your mouth.
1. Start with deep listening. Give the other person your full attention. Pay attention to what this person is saying, what their facial expressions are, and their body language. People speak with more than just their words. Pay attention and listen so you can understand them better. Put yourself in their shoes and practice empathy. If your attention wanders off, gently bring it back to this person.
2. Pay attention to how you feel when listening to this person speak to you. If strong emotions or the urge to react comes up, acknowledge it and let it go.
3. Attention is power. The power to choose your response is better than reacting out of impulse. Choose carefully what you say and how you express yourself. If you have not fully understood the other person, it helps to loop back to what you think you heard them say and ask if you’ve understood correctly.
Practice a mindful conversation today with a loved one or a friend. Notice how it makes you feel when you come out of that conversation. Bonus points if you share this practice with your partner. I promise you it’ll improve your relationships tremendously.
An extra challenge is to try to practice this mindful conversation with a total stranger. It’s more common not to give a stranger our full attention. See if you can do it and notice how that changes the way you communicate with people in general.
Tomorrow we’ll dive into meditation for better sleep. Insomnia sucks; let me help you.
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