Have you noticed how your thoughts send you out of the present moment when relating with your partner? When you are not aware of what you tell yourself in your mind (self-talk), and don’t know how to get back to the present moment, there’s a good chance of not monitoring your emotions when talking about sensitive issues in your relationship.
How does this happen? Because the thoughts you think can come out of your mouth! These reactive thoughts, often about differences between people, can be downers to the relationship, when the point is to have healthy outcomes for both people, right? Now there’s a solution: develop a practice of mindfulness to help you deal with your emotional states, which can lead to increased intimacy.
Emotional mastery and mindfulness are very much related, one benefits the other. Mindfulness is the combination of concentration, insight, and the capacity to live in the present moment experience while living. Emotional mastery, according to Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of the 1995 bestseller Emotional Intelligence, is the “capacity for recognizing [your] own feelings and those of others, for motivating [yourself], and for managing emotions well in [yourself] and in [your] relationships.” The two together helps you connect in an authentic, aware way to both your heart and the heartfelt life around you.
Maintaining a calm awareness – mindfulness – when issues are up between partners is easier when you:
Concentrate your attention even if other thoughts are trying to butt in.
Hold on to yourself emotionally with conscious awareness.
Self-soothe your reactivity so you can talk.
Be aware of limiting thoughts that cause emotions of fear, guilt, shame, etc.
Remember you are on a learning journey.
Choose the thinking/feeling state you want.
Remember your original intention for the talk with your partner.
You are being mindful when you self-soothe your reactive or uncomfortable feelings during emotional intimacy. Why not pause and mindfully set your intention about what outcomes you really want in your relationship, including about sex? So many of us don’t believe we have a choice about what one thinks and feels, when we do!
You can learn the practical tools of mindfulness! The charge/relax breathing tools I teach are a start, combined with grounded yoga positions. Centering or meditation can also be learned in private sessions with me or in classes. The following quote embraces mindfulness and it impact on intimate relationship. “Greater mindfulness is … theoretically associated with being less distracted by one’s own thoughts about the past and future and the feelings that attend those thoughts, and therefore more attention is available for attending to a partner’s perspective” (Wachs and Cordova, 2007, p. 475).
You too can learn to be calmer, more mindful, and more vibrantly alive while your heart is engaged in the various ups and downs of intimacy. With mindfulness your fears will be kept at bay so the fears do not control what you say to your partner, even when their perspective is different from yours. Love, intimacy, and really knowing the other person can grow, so that the differences don’t have to continue to be blocks to intimacy in your life.