Updated: Sep 22
Most of us have to deal with the occasional “Debbie Downer.” Luckily for us, we tend to only encounter these negative people in the office or when we’re out on the town. When we get home after a long day’ work, it’s nice to be around people who make us feel better and who lift our spirits.
Unfortunately, for many people going home is not the sanctuary that it is for most of us. It is all too common to hear about a troublesome home life because many of us live with people who cause us suffering.
Sometimes the solution is easy and we can simply pick up and leave the situation but what if we can’t? What if the person who is causing us harm in our lives is someone close to us or perhaps maybe even someone we love??
What do we do then?? Is there a way to be mindful when dealing with difficult people that we love? Is there a way for us to set boundaries but also save our relationship?
If you are someone who wants to continue supporting and caring for you’re loved ones but will no longer tolerate the suffering they cause you, I think mindfulness might be a good solution to your problem.
Now, before I begin, I want to throw out a quick disclaimer: I am not a psychotherapist or licensed counselor so please PLEASE go see a professional if you are in a relationship that is toxic and/or dangerous.
Having said that, I do think many of the problems we have with the people we love most can be addressed through mindfulness and maybe even remedied. It is possible, I believe, for us to improve and deepen our relationship with others if we are willing to take a step back, find common ground, speak our truth and remember we are all born with a benevolent heart.
Taking a step back is all about perspective. It’s about seeing things as they are not as your mind tries to convince you they are. We tend to have a lot of stories about the people who love us most and while some stories can be good, others can be damaging and blind us of from the solution.
No matter the story, it’s critical for us to try and view our thoughts about these people from a distance—away from the emotions and history that make us react automatically. By doing this, we provide the opportunity to create space and that space allows us to side step the old narratives and focus on solutions.
When we have perspective we see the person who is hurting us for who they really are instead of getting wrapped up on the old stories we tell ourselves about them. From this place of understanding we can truly move toward a healthier relationship with the people we care about.
Find Common Ground:
Finding common ground can be another powerful way for us to gain perspective about the person and the situation that is causing us suffering. When we are upset with someone that we care about deeply we tend to forget that there is often a place to meet in the middle. By finding this common ground one can reset their intentions to ensure that you are both aligned with this mutual place of understanding.
When our emotions are high and the history with an individual runs deep, it’s hard to remember that the person we are upset with wants the same thing we want. If this is the case then we can start trying to find middle ground by asking questions. When we seek to understand our partner we strengthen the common bond between us. In many cases this bond is what brought us together in the first place.
So, if your husband is having a hard time keeping up with the “honey-do” list, don’t assume it’s because he doesn’t care. Remember, you and your partner are in this relationship because you BOTH care about each other. That commonality can be powerful and when coming from a place of shared interest the message you are trying to convey will be more impactful.
I think the world could use a little more compassion these days. With a society that focuses on external validation through materialist means, it’s no wonder that people don’t notice what’s going on around them. We’re all too caught up in our own stories and our own lives to even consider how difficult life can be for others.
What’s worse is that we can even be guilty of overlooking the circumstances for the people we love. We say things like “What is their problem?” or “Why can’t they just figure it out?”
But with an attitude like that, it can be difficult to navigate through difficult situations with your loved ones because you aren’t coming from a place of mutual respect or perspective. Instead, you come from a place of “I’m right” and “You’re wrong” and that isn’t beneficial to either party.
As much as we would like to believe that everyone is as “bright” or “evolved” as we are, they’re not! That’s not how life works. Not everyone was dealt the same hand in life and someone else’s story can be very different than our own. But if we can see this simple truth then we can appreciate people for who they are, not what we think they should be.
Having compassion for someone isn’t about feeling sorry for him or her. It’s about knowing they’ve had a different journey and yet managed to make it this far in life with a different set of tools than you. No two people are alike nor should they be. The beauty of loving someone fully is that you don’t have to change them. You see them for who they are and you hold them with compassion. You love the things you share in common but also the things that make you different. Each of us is moving through our own journey at our own pace. The minute we realize we are all living this shared life and trying to find love, we can begin to heal our broken relationships.
Thank you as always for reading! We appreciate you taking time to feed your mind and soul. Let us know if you have any other techniques for dealing with difficult loved ones? How were you able to use mindfulness to improve those relationships?
And until next time… Many many blessings!!