Mental habits that sabotage loving relationships

Most of us – especially if we haven’t worked with mindfulness practices – find our minds slip easily and habitually into judgement. Judgments are any opinions we have about this or that. They may take the form of labeling, admiration, criticisms, blame, positive or negative bias, and so on. These judgements interfere with our ability to simply be present to what is unfolding in the present moment. Whereas we can hold these judgements at bay in many of our relationships – work, friends, sometimes family – they seem much harder to manage in our intimate relationships. Couples often slip into negative judgements in the form of criticism and blame. A couple’s inability to step out of constant criticism and blame for even a few minutes often signals the demise of the relationship. This is especially true when neither partner is able to catch themselves in the midst of an unfolding pattern of blame/criticism and make a ‘repair’ gesture or some attempt to make up. Building awareness of these habits of mind so as not to simply slip into criticism and blame of one’s partner – and building the capacity to take responsibility and offer a gesture that will allow a move towards each other rather than away from each other – can be helpful in creating resilience in a couple relationship.

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