Try a mindful approach!

A lockdown means for many of us that we are the whole day with each other in the same space. Maybe in the beginning it feels romantic and cozy but at a certain point the irritations can arise. Especially if there are also other stress factors! 

According to relationship therapist Jean-Pierre van de Ven, it is a good idea to occasionally reflect on the six paramitas. These are guidelines for daily life, based on the Dzogchen Buddhism. This branch of Tibetan Buddhism is also called atiyoga; yoga for the mind. Sounds vague, but it isn’t!

The six main pillars:

1. Be Mindful and stay in the moment

Being forced to be together 24/7   is difficult enough for most. Therefore, it might be helpful to focus only on today. Not on the past and not on tomorrow. We tend to look the other way if there is something wrong with our relationship. We prefer to talk about the “shit” from the past. Or we dream away in future ideals. If you simply talk about the present, you already have two thirds less worries.

2. Generosity

Share with each other and help each other where you can. “Do not necessarily expect anything in return, not even a thank you,” says Van de Ven, “because expectations often go wrong.” Just try to be generous without wanting anything in return. Another form of generosity is that you don’t respond to your partner’s anger. Acknowledge that there is a problem, but don’t make it bigger than it is.

3. Discipline

Make sure you do not harm or hurt the other person. This means that you do not blame, offend, beat or humiliate. But also that you don’t ignore the other person. Do you know it all? Then keep all lessons, solutions or diagnoses to yourself. Also, don’t hurt the other person by lying. Even a lie for good will is not good for your relationship. Be open about your motives, wishes and needs. Even if this is painful for your loved one. Show the other who you really are. It strengthens confidence and makes your relationship more intimate and loving.

4. Diligence

“A relationship is constantly developing, it is a living thing,” says Van de Ven. “Therefore, do not consider it as something that is finished. Compliment each other, tell your partner why you appreciate him or her and keep doing that until the end. Compare it with giving a plant water. The plant will die if you give the plant only one time water for the whole year.

5. Endurance

Accept the other as person as (s)he is, wanting to change someone is not a good basis. Take the other person’s message and opinion seriously. Are you normally in charge? Then go crazy and accept a proposal from your loved one without grumbling. See what comes of it. That generates confidence and shows patience.

6. Wisdom

“It is important to realize that you are interdependent in a relationship,” says Van de Ven. “You are in the (wedding) boat together: if there is a leak, you must take responsibility yourself and not point to your partner to seal it. Otherwise you’ll drown yourself.” This interdependence means that you work together as a team. This starts with giving things to each other, but also being open to the things your partner gives you. This creates space for each other, while you are still connected.

Inspired by an article form Psychology, April 2020