6 Tips For A More Compassionate Relationship

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older couple embracing
How to practice compassion, a key element to the health and happiness of your relationship.

3.  Pause. Once you have awareness of the lightning-fast way our minds turn molehills into mountains, use it. Some say our mood changes every minute-and-a-half. If your partner really hurt you or deserves to be called out on something, it can probably wait a minute, right? And in pausing, you're giving yourself the ability to check out your thoughts and evaluate whether or not they warrant the emotional response you've generated. As Nance Guilmartin writes in her business management book The Power of Pause:

"Today you need the ability to discern what lies beneath people's words, their reactions, or their silence. If you don't build the neuropathways in your brain to pause, to momentarily disengage your automatic reactions, you can trigger a chain reaction that derails your best intentions and strategies... Emotions can also drive illogical reactions masquerading as gut responses. That's why a pause is powerful: it restores your ability to access your intuition and to trust that what your gut is telling you works in a particular situation."

Pausing allows you to double-check with your mind: "Do I really want to go in that direction? Am I sure there's not a better alternative here?" which can make all the difference in business and in your relationship.

4.  Do unto others… The golden rule: "do unto others as you'd have done unto you" has persisted in so many incarnations throughout time for a reason. If you are untruthful with your partner, don't you find yourself more paranoid that he/she's untruthful, too? Because you understand how it's done. Likewise, if you make a point of increasing affirmation or encouragement to your partner, you'll most likely see a similar response returned to you. When you pause, keep this idea in mind. How would you want to be treated if you'd made a mistake like he/she had? How do you respond to someone shouting at you? And, how wonderfully unexpected is it to see your partner stop and try to see it your way (whether or not he actually succeeds! how great is the effort?). 7 Ways To Show Love Without Words

5.  Do your thing. While compassion depends on selflessness, if you are out of whack, mentally, physically or emotionally, it's hard to see outside yourself. As a culture, we could be well-served to better honor respite, leisure and balance. The benefit of being fulfilled, of having worked out the kinks—be that during a jog, a power nap, a yoga class, a course of graduate study or night away from the kids—can't come from your partner. It can only come from you, and being a better, more complete and peaceful you will allow your relationship to follow.

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