Tag: Live Advice

A Case for Loving-Kindness Meditation

We’ve all been there—we’re having a conversation that we don’t necessarily want to have and we begin to feel defensive.  Our mind may start racing or our palms may start sweating. Anger starts rising up hot on our necks, and we’ve hit the point of either shutting down and tuning out or getting upset. Usually it’s with someone that we’ve been down this road with before.

It’s true, right? We all find ourselves falling into the cycle of washing and rinsing out one issue, yet, before we’ve even finished ironing it out, we could already be facing more trouble from the same source.  Our immediate response may be to act out of frustration or anger instead of a calm, collected place. That’s were loving kindness-meditation comes in.

As Harvard Business Review explains it:

“To understand why we get clumsy in difficult relationships, consider that habitual patterns of thinking and behavior are like the deep grooves that get carved into a dirt road by the repeated passage of tires. The deeper the grooves, the more likely we are to get stuck in them. This is why we tend to have the same argument repeatedly with certain people, and find ourselves unable to free ourselves from the familiar script. Loving-kindness meditation improves our ability to see those grooves more clearly, to lift ourselves out of them, and to intentionally choose a better, more effective pathway.”

The key is to assuage this issue before it arises internally, and we can only do that by being cool and collected—and most importantly, comfortable within ourselves.  As HBR notes, “without self-compassion it’s hard to find compassion for others.”

Now—start the practice by cultivating someone in your mind that you’re close to. One that loves, honors, and respects you for who you are. They will be the guided thought for your meditation.

Create a mantra based on that idea—and as you’re beginning to feel frustrated with a tough conversation, turn to that to help you make it through. Channel love within your mind and allow it to come through your thoughts and into your words.

Next, set your intentions on the person you’re having the conflict with—Affirmations you can use to assist in setting your intentions into compassion are:

Om, Compassion

You are love, as am I

Compassion is all

The Universe loves you

As you continue this mantra of love for yourself and love for others—you are beginning to set yourself free from the pain of difficult relationships. Changing your heart space to let light in instead of harboring darkness.

Once we find peace in ourselves, the conflicts that we have with others will seem less important to our days, and soon our lives. We learn that through self-control we can create our own existence of harmony instead of discord.

Our lives are short and precious; too short to allow others to negatively impact our days. Give yourself the opportunity to flourish through positive energy; you will change in many incredible ways.

Building Boundaries Instead of Walls

How do you handle ‘letting someone in’ to your life? Some of us slowly allow others in and some of us are open books. Whichever side of the fence we fall, there is one commonality—we feel it’s easier to let someone in than to risk offending them and losing the relationship.

So we just swing the door open wide and hope for the best. That feels good in the moment, right? It keeps everyone happy; they feel valued and important for being in your inner circle.  You feel that you’ve got a team behind you. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. 

When it comes to our interpersonal relationships, we don’t want to disturb our precious and fragile relationships with our friends, family, coworkers and/or significant others. Many times, it’s easier to allow others to share their insight and opinions on our day-to-day situations than to tackle them on our own for a variety of reason.

Not setting healthy boundaries with those we care about, however, allows them to unintentionally interfere with our personal wellness; affecting us more that we know. Our ability to problem solve is sacred, not shared. So why do we find this idea to be so difficult?

Because we mistake boundaries for walls—spiritual and emotional boundaries are important for ones own well-being. Boundaries help contain and build strength from within, whereas walls tend to block and defend. When we start to view these two ideas separately we can begin to cultivate better relationships. 

It is important to note, that we do, of course, need others— their love and support of our lives and our goals create a sense of accomplishment and wholeness within ourselves and our life. It’s when we allow others the opportunity to make decisions with us or for us that it starts to get sticky. We think we need to build walls as our boundaries are not being respected, walls are not necessary, a re-affirmation of our boundaries are.

We believe that in order to be loving humans we need to be open. Being open is wonderful, but we have to be mindful of the personal ramifications of giving our power to others or too much weight to their opinions. When we rely on others for advice about all of our personal needs or challenges—they begin to feel responsible, and sometimes even offended, if we don’t follow their advice.

Imagine if your closest confidants knew that you only came to them when you needed specific, quality advice. Instead of them feeling they owe you their help—they’re excited that their advice is what you seek! The value of them knowing this not only strengthens the relationship but may also lead to their best advice.

Now it’s time to practice—build your boundaries, but watch for walls. Allow those closest to you the opportunity to be present in your life, without being responsible for you. Building up this reciprocal respect of our personal boundaries not only strengthens relationships; but also creates peace within ourselves and our own abilities.