Mindful Relationships

Just returned from a wonderful week at Miraval - a resort spa with opportunities for enlightenment, personal growth and challenges.  One of the seminars was on Mindful Relationships and I took copious notes.  What follows are some of the gems:

The five A’s of a Supportive Relationship:  Attraction,  Acknowledgement,  Appreciation, Affection, Allowing.

What get’s in the way of a Supportive Relationship?  Anxiety, Need for Control, Judgment, Illusion, Unrealistic Expectations.  Also, Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.

Four Fundamental Truths about relationships:  1.  Relationships are a mirror of ourselves and sometimes we don’t like what we see.  However, this always contains an opportunity for our own personal growth.   2.  I want others to honor what is true for me.  Do I honor what is true for them?   3.  Others cannot control my thoughts, feelings and actions – unless I allow them to.       4. I cannot control another’s thoughts, feelings or actions, even though I’d sometimes like to.

John Gottman PhD studied the Characteristics of Stable, Supportive Relationships and came up with strong predictors for a successful relationship.  His research is mentioned in the book, Blink.

Turning Toward – when someone ‘bids’ for our attention and we turn toward them, they feel loved and important.  If we Turn Away by staying pre-occupied, not listening, ignoring or interrupting, they feel unloved and unimportant.  If we Turn Against by speaking put downs or insults, they not only feel unloved but also not safe.

The second predictor of a successful relationship is a sense of We-ness.  A couple needs to feel like they are a team, that they are in this together.  There are shared values and goals, shared dreams and rituals, and shared problem-solving.

The third predictor of a successful relationship is a willingness to accept influence from the other person.  There is an openness to new perspectives, an ability to create new alternatives and options.  This is a couple who can make dialogue be the goal and come up with new ideas.

The fourth predictor of a successful relationship is the active building of friendship and intimacy through:  Positivity, Emotional connections, Fun, Adventure, and Playfulness.

Couples need a Five to One Ration of positives to negative interactions!

And finally, a list of qualities of Mindfulness:  Presence, Acceptance, Letting Go, Gentleness, Beginner’s Mind, Openness, Neutrality, Patience, Trust, Warmth, Honoring, Understanding, Empathy, Loving Kindness.  ”True love is being present.”