partnering with mindfulness

Turning Me to We to partner mindfully

I have noticed a set of conditions required for joyful, successful relationships.  The best way to create the energy for joyful, mutually successful meaningful relationships is through mindful partnering.  I use this inner mantra Turning Me to We as a guide to creating this. This is an offshoot of developmental psychology.  

We go through different patterns of interaction as we evolve in our social psycho-emotional development. All humans start out in a dependent ME frame of mind – my needs, my wants must be met by another – whose needs are unimportant. Here interaction is in one direction.  There is generally a diminished capacity for empathy or altruism in this state.  

When there are two “me”s in this kind of relationship solutions are calculated on a large tally sheet, a me-need exchange program.  This is often called co-dependence.

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Then as each being ages and evolves he or she moves into a more independent frame of mind which is more of an I style of being in the world – where competition is the typical style of relating.  This is a parallel competition – Look what I can do; I need this – while the other is also saying Look what I can do; I need this.  

Solutions to problems in this “I” stage look like a compromise – and result in latent conflict because one party feels they had to give up something to remain in the relationship.  

Then, finally, with effective development, humans evolve into a WE frame of mind which is interdependence.  Here altruism and empathy are integral components of how the relationship proceeds. Information is taken in from each person and then a negotiation that meets the needs of both parties are designed through open, direct, genuine, communication.  

Although in this stage there may be overt conflict, the way in which it is addressed does not create inner insecurity for the parties.  The conflict spawns resolution without latent dissonance.

This final stage is required for cultivating joyful, creative, sustaining, meaningful, and successful partnerships and relationships. 

READ ALSO >>> 10 tips on getting our of a conflictual relationship <<<<

To evaluate where you are you can look at several things.  

  • Do you feel defensive, possessive, insecure, or competitive with your partner?
  • This is a sign that you may be stuck in the Me (co-dependent) or I (independent) stage of relating.  
  • These two stages have deficits and detractions in creating sustaining and mutually fulfilling relationships.  
  • Co-dependence  (the two “me”s) has a lack of stability through a lack of security and foundation between the partners.  
  • And the competition involved in the two “I”s in relationships has a lack of cohesion and working-through together, a lack of collaboration.

Listen to your language.  

When describing difficulties and solutions, what pronouns to use?  – Me, I, or We –

  • Do you hear or feel blamed or attacked rather than a sense of connection or solution-focused interaction?  
  • The former is found in the ME oriented and I oriented relationships, whereas the latter is found in We oriented relationships.  

Pay attention to how you feel.  

  • Do you feel manipulated or a genuine sense of interest and mediation/negotiation?  
  • Manipulation can feel like a tightening within your throat, a fear to speak your truth. 
  • It can also feel like a tightening in your belly or hips or a holding in your breathing.

Feeling danger or a lack of security or power can create these above sensations.

When in an interdependent WE stage of interacting.  

  • Even when your truth is in opposition to that of your partner, your partner honor it as valid for you.
  • There is a sense of freedom and openness, an acceptance of each other.  
  • This feels like flexibility in those same areas identified as tight above.

To move yourself and your partner into the We paradigm, begin with yourself first. Mindfully consider what is holding you back from being in we, interdependent style of collaboration in partnering.

This is usually an issue of security.  Security can take the form of financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual security.  Spend some time determining what assists you in feeling secure; under what conditions do you feel secure. Then bring that information back to the relationship and share it with an open heart.

In essence

Through this process, you can begin to create a sense of two integrated selves (containers of me and me) interacting in an interdependent way without losing a sense of each self.

Maintaining a consistent yoga practice enhances your capacity to identify what makes you feel secure (and insecure) as well as to develop your internal connection to cues from your body and sensory guidance system.

If you are looking to deepen your relationships and learn the basics of authentic communication (with yourself and others) take a look at this online course – Transformative Communication – 4-hour guidance as an easy and life-enhancing approach for better relationships.