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Intrapersonal and interpersonal relationship is an ongoing learning and growing process of cultivating and sustaining connectedness, an intimate relationship. Relating to oneself and to the other requires our full presence to ourselves and to the other person.. Mindfulness is an intentional and nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment, the existential awareness, of myself in relationship with the other person. It requires our bare and full attention to ourselves and the other person.
Unconditional positive regard, empathy and compassion, and authenticity and congruence are the essential components of such mutually growing relationship.
In order to cultivate these competencies, we need to practice sitting mindfulness, taking time out from our ever- busy and stressful life. This is our quite time to be present to ourselves to be mindful of our inner landscape. It is a holistic mindfulness of our body-body scan-, bodily sensations, breathing, thoughts feelings and emotions arising in us. We compassionately listen to, notice and become aware of our changing inner world. Such sitting mindfulness practice helps us to be free from our consciousness stuck with the past hangover and future worries and anxieties. It opens up fresh and new doors of perception; understanding and insight which helps us act constructively. Quiet mind, clear mind helps us make creative, constructive and wise choices.
We need to practice sitting mindfulness in our relationships with ourselves and others. Sitting mindfulness practice helps us to remain mindful and centered in our transactions with others in our life. Become mindful of the impact of behavior of the other, your friend, teacher, family member on you. When you remain mindful of your inner world at that time, remain centered and mindfully respond to the other (not react), you create a bridge of understanding and working together. Our transactions do not result in power struggle and disconnect.
Reacting and Responding
As we all know, our reacting behaviors cause reactive behaviors from others and they end up in hurting, frustrating, arguing, depressive and alienating experiences.
What causes reactive behaviors? Lack of empathic understanding of each other? Unchecked assumptions? Being unaware of the impact of the impact of each other’s reactive behaviors on oneself? Not pausing to create space in each other to be mindful of arrow throwing behaviors? Not listening to oneself and to the other? Not being present to oneself and to the other? Coming from old unprocessed old scripts? Using judgmental, critical, blaming, ridiculing, shaming, and hurting words? How do we express our needs, wants and wishes with an empathic understanding of the other person?
How do we respond? How do we create inner space to listen to oneself and to the other? How do we cultivate the skills of empathic listening and understanding? How do we communicate with the other person to maintain connectedness? We need to be mindful of our needs and feelings and need to learn how to express them. We also need to be mindful of the other person’s needs and feelings and facilitate the expression of his needs and feelings without judging and obstructing.
Communication is very important in creating, sustaining and enriching healthy relationships. How do we communicate is extremely important. Dr. Marshal Rosenberg has made a significant contribution in interpersonal communication.
There are four steps involved in nonviolent communication. Expression of your needs wants and wishes. Expressing your feelings when your needs, wants and wishes are not fulfilled by making I need and feel statements. Describe specific behaviors of the other person that caused disturbing feelings in you. Make it sure you do not accuse or blame the other person. Make a request, not a demand to meet your needs, wants and wishes. Be mindful of your expectations and be prepared to be disappointed. You own your wishes, needs and expectations without blaming the other person.
It goes without saying that reading only, understanding only and talking about it only does not result in transformation. I would like us to remember and practice three words; Attention, Attention, Attention and Practice, Practice, Practice.