By Rupa T. Ward, MA, MFTI
On a first date, or in the beginning phases of a romantic relationship, we may feel anxious, nervous, agitated, excited, or possibly preoccupied. How will this meeting go? Will he/she like me or be turned off? Will I like him/her? If I like him/her, will there be a second time? Our mind generates myriads of thoughts and questions.
We experience a range of emotions—excitement, nervousness, anxiety, hope, and doubt—that may leave us exhausted or confused. If we like the person, we daydream our future with this person or become overly self-conscious as we want to present our best side.
Sooner or later, though, comes the first disagreement, the first dispute, and the world feels as though it comes collapsing down. The rock and roll refrain of relationships is well known—I want you, I need you, you are perfect for me, and I'll die if I can't have you. This notion of romance as the “be all and end all” of one's life, coupled with unrealistic images of beauty and desirability generated in the media, makes our inner insecurity even more acute.
The practice of mindfulness can be very helpful in grounding us in meeting and relating to a significant other. What mindfulness does is to bring us back from all kinds of projections (into past or the future) to our home, which is the present moment. It allows us to consciously let go of the inner chatter that relates to only the past or the future, and brings us back in a vital connection with our breath, bodies, emotions, and feelings, in the present.
When you feel agitated, confused, or overly preoccupied, stop and take a few deep breaths. Feel your breath not just as air passing through your nose to the chest or the belly, but as energy flowing through your entire body. Feel your body and release any tension or struggle you are carrying. You may find that you are hardly breathing and your mind is running all around. Focusing the light of awareness and of the breath on the inner chatter helps to quiet it down. So become fully aware of your mind and body in the present moment. Do not feed more chatter to the mind until the mind and body quiet down.
This way you will not be too concerned with judging either yourself or the person you are meeting and relating to. Let go of all judgments and rest in the presence of all things around you. Become more joyful and know that you have the ability to be entirely happy within, that you do not depend on anyone for your own happiness. This will only benefit both you and the person you are relating to. This is true love for you and for others.
Rupa Ward has an M. A. in Psychology with Marriage and Family Therapy emphasis from Chapman University. She has both training and experience in individual, family, children, and group counseling.
If you want to bring more mindfulness to your life, call Rupa to make an appointment. Contact: 714-432-9857 ext. 5 or via email: Rupa@pathways2wellness.com