Being Present with Your Partner

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With special occasions like Valentine's Day, birthdays and anniversaries happening throughout the year, do you ever run out of ideas about what to get your partner?  In this article, I will be discussing the best present that you can give to that special someone, and honestly, it's the best gift for to give yourself as well.

Good news: You Don't Have to Spend a Dime

I'm not talking about chocolates, roses, or diamonds.

This gift is, in fact, free. It might take some practice to achieve, but it's worth it. By giving this gift to each other and ourselves more regularly, big societal problems like depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and divorce will likely be reduced. Your life will become better as a result.​

What is This Gift?

It may sound simple, but it is your presence. When you are truly emotionally present with your partner, you are giving them the best gift they can ask for. Being truly present in the moment is actually good for you too. In the words of the great Zen Buddhist monk, teacher and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, "The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."

Why is Being "Present" So Important?

The great psychologist Abraham Maslow stated, “I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

As suggested in Eckharte Tolle's popular book, The Power of Now, the only important moment is the present one. Far too often, we can all get caught up in worries about the future or concerns about the past, when what really matters is the moment before us. Tolle suggests that our past and our future are created by our thoughts, and by dwelling in this illusion, we lose sight of what really matters, namely, the now.

 

When people are not present with themselves or their partners and are living in their minds, they lose touch with the full extent of their experiences, and understandably lose touch with their partners as a result. Significant others then feel disconnected and unimportant, which sets up the relationship for trouble. The goal here is to be truly present with each other in the moment, and while full presence may not be possible to achieve 100% of the time, it is worth every bit of effort to improve your ability to be present.

How Does One Be More Present?

Dr. Sue Johnson, psychologist, relationship expert and author of Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationshipshelps individuals learn how to be more emotionally present with themselves and their partners through Emotionally Focused Therapy. She has discussed the three keys to healthy relationships which are really all about being emotionally present and attuned with your partner.

You can practice trying to be more present yourself by slowing yourself down, breathing deeply, and really asking yourself what your experience is in the present moment.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice that has been shown to help with problems such as anxiety, among others. You can practice mindfulness meditation techniques by just stopping and checking in with yourself to increase your awareness about your experience.

The more present you are with yourself, the more present you will be able to be with your partner. Even though your presence is the best gift you can give your partner, do not just save it for a special occassion. Make sure to make a daily practice of it and your relationship will thrive from it as a result.

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