Did you know that one of the best ways to get along with other people is to actually do something all by yourself? It’s true, and if you know how to meditate, you’re much more likely to improve your relationships.
And while it might seem strange that meditation can help you shine in your social interactions, once you learn some of the amazing benefits of this ancient practice, you’ll want to learn how to meditate, too.
How to Get Along With Yourself First
If you want to get along with others, the first and most important step is to have a great relationship with yourself. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have this essential foundation, and as a result, our relationships suffer.
This is where meditation steps in. By meditating for 10 to 15 minutes each day, you’ll begin to see past your thoughts and feelings – those things that distract you all day – and when you can see past these distractions, you’ll begin to see you, as you are. And you’ll be able to separate yourself, the thinker, from the thoughts, which are not you!
But what if you don’t like what you see? What if you need all of those daily distractions to keep you from dealing with yourself?
It’s true – most of us are pretty critical and hard on ourselves, but meditation can help you move toward greater self-acceptance. You see, meditation helps you observe your thoughts and emotions without judging them. You can start to see them as they are, without criticizing them or getting frustrated.
When you’re able to observe your thoughts and feelings, with compassion instead of criticism, you’ll start to carry this compassion into other areas of your life, too. This same compassion and awareness that you develop during meditation is exactly what you carry into every interaction and conversation throughout the rest of your day.
Whether that be with your spouse, partner, parent, or child. Even the cashier or janitor you pass in the hallways at work. Little by little, the benefits of meditation start to seep into your daily life.
Become creative instead of reactive
Not only does meditation help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, but learning how to meditate will make you start noticing how your body reacts to these thoughts and feelings. Think about it. Most of the time, when someone bothers you, you just react, right? And you’re probably not aware that your body’s changing – the tightening of your shoulders, the flip in your stomach, or the warmth in your cheeks. These are all natural responses, but we’re often unaware of them, and just ride the wave of whatever emotion we’re feeling.
Meditation, however, helps us to first observe our thoughts and not just react to them. Instead of being a slave to our thoughts and feelings, and just acting out, meditation gives us the freedom to choose how we want to act.
How Meditation Improves Communication
Even though communication is a two-way street, we usually just listen to respond, when we really should be listening to understand. And a great way to understand someone is to create a mindful space where you don’t filter their words through your own thoughts, judgments and reactions. Essentially, you create a safe space for them to be heard.
When we’re able to listen to what’s actually being said, and not what our inner dialogue is rambling on about, there’s a much better chance that we’ll respond with compassion and empathy. When you listen from a mindful space, you’ll be able to see what’s happening, without getting lost in what’s happening.
How to Meditate
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, it all sounds cool, but how can I start tapping into all of this goodness? How can I meditate?”
And before we get into how to meditate, it’s important to know that with time and commitment, you can have all of the benefits of meditating that we discussed. Just remember to stick with it. Meditation can help you get along better with others, but just like a good relationship, it’s something that takes time.
There are several types of meditation, and while the methods might be different, they all involve turning your attention inwards. And because we’re all different, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to meditation. So, you might try one method for a week or two, and realize that it’s not the right approach for you. That’s okay. You’ll find the right fit!
Different Ways to Meditate to Help You Get Along With Others
The following, five types of meditation are a great place to start. If you feel drawn to one over another, go ahead and try that one. You can meditate for 10-15 minutes each day, and like I said, if it’s not panning out, you can easily try another method. So, let’s look at your meditation options!
Guided meditations are a wonderful way for beginners to start out. You might use affirmations, imagery or body scans to focus your attention inward, and to become more relaxed and expand your awareness.
Mantra meditation is another approach, which repeats a specific sound, word or syllable to help the mind focus and the body relax.
Metta meditation, or Loving-Kindness Meditation, is particularly useful for improving your relationships. In this practice, you create love within you, and then after you grow and expand this love, you send it out, and embrace others in your loving kindness.
Mindfulness meditation is another helpful method where you simply pay attention to the present moment or the situation you find yourself in. Then you observe without judging or criticizing it.
Lastly, Vipassana meditation is very similar to mindfulness meditation, but instead of focusing on the present moment, you’re encouraged to simply focus on your breathing.
These five meditation methods are all a great place to start, and a wonderful way to improve your interactions and relationships with both yourself and others.
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