Updated: May 24
Using the Body as a Steadying Support
When we run into difficulty in our relationships with other people, being lost in our stories and ideas about the other person is most likely a key component of the difficulty. Other people are just doing what they are doing. It doesn’t necessarily have to impact us in one way or another. If there is reactivity (wanting or not wanting) in relation to another person or group of people, the reactivity is in us, not them! Of course, if we find ourselves in any kind of an abusive relationship, this does not apply, and we want to extricate ourselves from that relationship as soon as possible.
One of the big challenges in relationships is losing ourselves. By that I mean that our attention goes out to the other person and stays with them. We might notice how they look at us and whether they like us or not. With our attention completely on the other person, there’s none left for ourselves. We literally forget ourselves. Now, it’s perfectly fine and appropriate to be aware of the person and people we are with. Giving them our attention is part of healthy relating. But, it’s when there is no attention at all on ourselves that things can become problematic. This is how we miss the thoughts and stories that run through our heart and mind about the other person and about the relationship.
A simple and profound way to keep some attention on ourselves when we are relating with other people is to remain aware of (feel) our bodies, particularly where the body is connected to the earth. Without awareness our attention goes up and out through the eye door onto the other person. When we are feeling our bodies, the awareness comes back and down into the body. We are mindful of our body. We remember we are here and include ourselves in the moment. Additionally, feeling our bodies and feeling grounded to the earth supports a sense that we are held, safe, and have support in navigating the moment with whomever we are with.
We can cultivate the intention to be aware of our bodies when we are relating with other people. To the degree that we remember to do that, we will have more awareness of, and more ease with, all of our relationships.