Relationships are a huge part of our happiness. They can bring up some of the most wonderful feelings . . .
. . . and they can stir up some of the most painful ones as well.
Yet there's one key thing - a key difference maker – that can change a relationship from being draining and negative, to loving and supportive.
But first, let’s consider . . .
What makes relationships so hard in the first place?
It often starts when we feel slighted, misunderstood, or disrespected in some way.
We react in self-defense. We might lash out and speak words we later wish we could "unsay." Or we withdraw in hurt to rehearse the reasons why we're right. And some of us simply shut down altogether.
The thing is, none of these defenses actually serves us well. Not one of them brings us closer to having the warm, healthy relationships we want.
Instead, we get caught up in a pattern where one hair-trigger reaction only feeds another. As practitioners, we often refer to this as a reactivity loop.
Now if you’ve ever worked with someone trying to stop this reactivity loop, then you know just how deeply entrenched it can be. Willpower and good intentions alone just aren't enough.
The best efforts often fail, and there’s a good reason why: we’re fighting neurobiology.
I know you know this, but just for review: What happens when we feel threatened is that the part of the brain that controls emotion takes over. That shuts down the prefrontal cortex. Now, in a life-or-death situation, this autopilot override is what keeps us alive.
But here’s the problem – when this shutdown happens for your client in the middle of a disagreement with their spouse or a heated negotiation with their teenager . . .
. . . the results can be disastrous.
This really isn’t the time you want your thinking brain to sign off while your emotional brain takes over.
But that’s only half the problem - so often in relationship struggles, there's something even deeper going on.
Not only is the conflict coming from outside, it also comes from within. When our self-critical inner voice won’t be stilled, we can feel insecure, as though we’re just not good enough.
If you work with clients, you’ve probably seen this countless times.
And if we’re honest, most of us know first-hand how toxic insecurity and self-doubt can be to relationships.
But as we know from the latest research in brain science, once a belief gets hardwired, it becomes very difficult to reset.
So here's the good news . . .
Research is also showing there's one practice that's particularly effective at retraining the brain so that we’re wired for positive, happy relationships . . .
. . . and that practice is mindfulness.
Thousands of studies over the last 20 years have shown that mindfulness can positively impact relationships and happiness. It can even change the structure of the brain.
Just 15 minutes of mindfulness practice a day can begin to unlock the barriers that keep people from connecting on a meaningful level.
Mindfulness can help us overcome feelings of insecurity so that we grow more open to love, trust, and intimacy.
This is not just about remembering to pause, take a deep breath, and count to ten in the heat of the moment. This is a way to rewire the brain and get beyond unhelpful “defenses” - you know, those walls we put up that don’t protect us anyway.
Mindfulness can help us drop the barriers built up over years of hurt, pain, and suffering. It can free us up from self-doubt and judgment so we can grow in self-compassion and acceptance.
So for just a moment, think about the impact this shift could have for your clients on their most cherished relationships . . .
Imagine your clients waking up every day feeling more alive, connected, and secure - without fear or worry about being anyone but their most authentic selves.
Picture the tense silence of a recurring disagreement with a partner giving way to open, honest, productive conversation.
Imagine the shouting sessions your client used to have with his teenage son replaced by evenings of board games and laughing.
Think about how it would feel for your client to see her grandchildren at a family reunion and hear her daughter say, “Thanks for not giving up on me when times were tough.”
Or what it would be like for your client to overhear her mother-in-law tell a friend how grateful she is to have her as part of her family.
Can you envision your client happy in their significant relationships, secure in the knowledge that both parties feel heard, understood, and appreciated?
Relationships can change.
That’s why we’ve created a program specially designed to overcome the insecurity, self-criticism, and judgment that block meaningful relationships.
And in this innovative program Tara Brach, PhD will be your guide. Tara is a psychologist, but not only that, she’s one of the world's most beloved mindfulness teachers.
As the author of Radical Acceptance and also True Refuge, she's already helped thousands of people transform their relationships - and their lives - with mindfulness.
In this interactive program, Tara will guide you to a deeper experience with your most loving, compassionate, authentic self.
She’ll share practices that can open your heart to a greater level of empathy and self-acceptance.
Her wisdom coupled with specific meditations will help you hold yourself, your loved ones, your clients, and really, the whole world in greater compassion.
These are the essential steps for reversing the negative patterns that prevent us from enjoying warm, spontaneous, and loving relationships. . .
. . . the kind in which both people feel seen, known, and understood.
Three short, lovely "nuggets" from Tara Brach... Enjoy!