“Mindful” has become a bit of a buzz word these days, so let’s revisit its core meaning. Only then can we apply its magic to engage in mindful dating.
Mindful dating isn’t really a new concept. In fact, I think it’s what most people strive for. Mindfulness is the process of being conscious of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions while allowing them to move through you without resistance. Not attaching action to them, just awareness. Truly, life is: the more you know.
Mindful dating is applying that same awareness to the process of dating and your partner—essentially, being a witness for one another. Now, I think most of us in a heroic attempt for mindfulness, struggle with the one ingredient not included in mindfulness: judgement. Below is a bit of perspective on how it looks and feels to be mindful with yourself and your partner.
Mindfulness of Thought: It’s good to have issues; great to understand them.
In each one of us is a profound constellation of interacting feelings, thoughts, spiritual and biological patterns, and learned impressions. Paying close enough attention to yourself to recognize your own allows you to witness another’s without judgement.
Application: He’s an unfocused driver after a long day at work. She is not a good passenger any day. He lets her drive after a long day at work.
Mindfulness of Emotion: Fear and distrust leave as easily as they come.
We fear what we don’t know—and sometimes what we do know. But when you can witness your fear, it becomes a foreign language that you have the opportunity to decode through mastering its message. Embracing your fears in relationships can be peaceful if you let it. Fear is not a premonition of things that won’t work out, it is the presence of pain needing to be transformed through grief.
Application: Her previous relationship was with a man who lied to her about everything. His previous relationship abandoned him without warning. Today, when suspicion creeps in, they talk about what they feel, hold each other and strengthen one another through their grief.
Mindfulness of Desire: Wanting is good, wanting what you have is magnificent.
Being mindful means you’ve considered the partner you want to have. It also means that you don’t attach yourself to that list: letting the acceptance of what is happening wash over you allowing the understanding and value of what you’re attracting to meet the awareness of your deeper needs that are being met. There is purpose in everything so when you no longer need something it ceases to exist.
Application: He was sure he’d marry a blonde, until he met her. She was sure that money would make her feel safe until she met him. She was the ideal beauty he didn’t know he wanted and she felt safe wrapped in the blanket of his integrity and convictions. Together they create their beautiful and prosperous life together.
Mindfulness of Reaction: Taking action is good; choosing that action is awesome.
Everyone experiences the power of their hormones surging through them at any given time. While life cycles can dictate the power of the surge, self-mastery dictates how we channel it. It is the perception and understanding we have based on our life patterns that drive the impetus for action or reaction. Many times in a relationship, what you perceive is being communicated will have more to do with what you expect to receive than what is being given. The only control you will find is to cultivate acute awareness of yourself, your partner, and the needs that you must fulfill for yourselves. Remembering, what you receive from one another is a bonus.
Application: Every day they breathe in self-awareness and exhale acceptance for one another.
Mindfulness of Behavior: Patterns are the building blocks of relationships, especially yours.
Relationships are the result of the combining and intersecting of spiritual life patterns between partners. For every lock, there is a key to open it. Mindfulness is the natural synergy created between people when they accept their differences and begin to understand the purpose and movement of their intertwining connection.
Application: He loves rainy, cold, overcast days and she loves sunny and warm ones: together they have love for all the seasons.
By now I’m certain you’ve gathered the theme of self-responsibility and personal autonomy as the pathway to happiness and harmony through mindfulness.
As a final thought: know that resistance, conflict, and struggle are just as much a part of the process. It is the repression of these dynamics that create discord, not their presence. Letting your thoughts and feelings come…and go, gathering intel all along the route will leave you peaceful, powerful, and partnered.