The Secret to Stronger Relationships
My wife, Narayani, and I have been married for eight years. We are on the same spiritual path and follow the same holistic lifestyle. And while we know and understand the principles of harmony and co-operation, inevitably, we, too, at times find ourselves caught in the jaws of arguments and disharmony.
Luckily, we understand that relationships are catalysts to teach us unconditional love. When we are in a committed partnership, we may work on loving one person unconditionally. This is a great starting place to invite more unconditional love into your life — a tiny heart cannot hold so much power until it learns how to expand itself.
Try and love one person without limits or bounds. If you can commit to this, everything else will feel small compared: Petty arguments will fall away rather than lingering and growing resentment.
Of course, despite our sincerest efforts, misunderstandings and conflict are bound to come up in all human relationships. Thankfully, I have learned some helpful strategies for developing more harmony in relationships over my years of practicing and teaching yoga and meditation.
Mind Your Thoughts
Our thoughts affect our relationships – they mirror how we see our partners. When we focus on what we consider a fault or flaw in our partner, it can begin to affect how we act and feel. The more we dwell on a negative judgment, the more pronounced it may feel.
Even if you don’t act on negative thoughts, letting them run wild in your mind only reinforces them — strengthening the very disharmony you’re trying to overcome. It’s the same way with positivity. If you choose to view another person through rose-colored glasses, they will always appear in a positive light. Where attention goes, energy flows.
At a recent workshop on relationships, my wife used a pendulum to demonstrate the power of thoughts — both positive and negative. She invited a student from the class to come up to the front and stand beneath a pendulum. Then she asked everyone in the room to send positive thoughts to him. As they did that, the pendulum began to swing in a clockwise direction. The more powerfully the crowd sent positive thoughts, the larger and faster the pendulum swung.
Then my wife asked everyone to think and project negative thoughts toward the student, and the pendulum began swinging in the opposite direction. It was a fabulous experiment to see the power our thoughts carry right before our eyes.
Just like the pendulum, all our relationships may be affected by our countless thoughts. Next time you’re having a hard time with someone, pause for a moment and think about how much time you spend in your head blaming or criticizing them. Every one of those thoughts is influencing your relationship and strengthening disharmony.
When we consciously re-seed our minds with positive thoughts, things begin to shift within and without. Every day, remind yourself to focus on everything positive about your relationship. Think of its best qualities and remember the most joyful moments you’ve shared. This will begin to shift the overall magnetism of your interactions, moving them into a more harmonious place.
Another strategy for strengthening your relationships is to commit to sharing a spiritual practice. Whether attending a yoga class, sitting in meditation together, or reading spiritual texts, these practices lift us and allow us to see beyond our limited expectations and are even stronger when shared.
Create Common Goals
Having and holding common goals creates positive feelings in relationships and allows people to work together. These common goals should not create pressure like saving money or raising children. Perhaps you both commit to experiencing more love. Make them something delightful you can both aspire to and experience together. A shared growth goal is a key ingredient to strengthen relationships.
No matter your differences, there is always a higher common goal to work toward.
My wife and I have a common ideal to love unconditionally. This unites us and inspires us both to work toward this feeling and drawing it out of each other — everything else feels small in comparison.
Start small. Perhaps, today, your united goal will be to spend the entire day in kindness or joy. Maybe tomorrow, you both commit to seeing the highest in everyone. Foster energies that will lift both of you in the same vibrational field — this is where true harmony is found.
Remember, friction is part of the beautiful journey in relationships. It’s OK to allow yourself to rub against each other to smooth out rough edges. Knowing this, we can use compassion and focused attention tools to create harmony in all relationships, one by one.