When You Want to Punch Your Mindful Boyfriend
I have a confession: I have a bad temper; like, volcano-style-lava-erupting-everywhere-burn-down-the-city sort of temper. There are times when my partner says something, and even though he prefaces all comments with, I know this is from ego, and I’m not attached to this thought, still, the thing he says stings, and I immediately want to react. I want to scream at him. I want to call him a dumb asshole, and I want to punch him right in the nose.
Now, I like to think that we are two mindful people in a spiritual relationship that we entered into for the purpose of the evolution of our soul, but still, there are moments when my ego wants to scream and kick. So, what do you do when you’re in a mindful relationship and your partner acts like an asshole? This is the question I asked myself this morning. Here’s what I came up with:
First thing’s first: Don’t punch him in the face.
The first step to shifting from a fearful, angry state is to not follow the directives your mind will tell you. Send another text. Call him on the phone. Storm out the room. Bring up the time he upset you last week. Tell him he’s a jerk. Break a glass. Whatever horrible things your mind wants you to do or say in a frustrated state are, pretty much, the exact things you don’t want to do. So, the way out of this situation begins with not punching anyone or saying anything horrible mean. Don’t break up. Don’t scream. Do anything except that. Go make some toast. Take some deep breaths. Repeat one of my favorite prayers from the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles: “I am willing to see things differently.” Pet your cat.
Step 2: Try to observe your thoughts by detaching from them.
In any moment, you have two choices: to identify with your thoughts, or to watch them, as clouds passing by in the sky. Here’s what I mean: Let’s say you are about to go on a second date with someone you really like, and suddenly, you think, I’m not ready for this. I don’t know how to be in a relationship, and I think he’s out of my league. In that moment, you can listen to your thoughts and choose to cancel the date, or, you can detach, meaning, witness your thoughts, and follow them up with, There is an energy in me that is afraid, and I am watching my mind want tell me negative things, like I”m not good enough, and I can’t do this. I am present to this fearful voice in me. The beauty is, you don’t have to do anything about it, just watch the fearful energy, rather than believing it and following its directives. So, when anger arises, do the same thing - detach a little. Watch the anger. Observe it, but don’t identify with it.
Finally: Turn your anger, as well as your relationship over to God.
This is the step can feel the hardest, because your mind wants to cling to its anger. Your mind doesn’t want to find a peaceful solution with your partner. It wants to kick and throw a tantrum, like a child. It takes an extraordinary amount of spiritual maturity to choose to surrender your anger, instead of reacting out of it. You do this by taking a breath and asking God for another way of looking at your situation. You might say, I have a lot of anger that part of me wants to hold onto, but I’m willing to release it. I’m open to seeing this situation differently and receiving the solution. I trust there is a loving solution here, and I’m willing to align with it.
Here’s the key: Your ego (the stream of thoughts you have and the self-concept of who you are) is constantly looking for reasons to be upset. Think about it: You don’t like your car, so you buy a new one, and a few months later, even the new one doesn’t feel so great. You want to lose weight, so you do, but then you begin to think that your nose is too big. Your mind likes to dwell on thoughts of not-enough, fear, or anger. It wants to stretch out a fight. It wants to complain. It wants to go on an on about how you’ve been wronged. It wants you to call your mom and best friends, so they’ll sympathize with you about how your partner is a real jerk. You can choose to listen to this fearful voice inside of your head, or you can do the mature thing, which is to look at it like an emotional child that needs a hug, but that doesn’t need to be indulged.
When you want to punch your mindful boyfriend in the face, don’t. Go scramble some eggs, or learn how to knit. Remember that you love him (or at the very least, like him), and create some space between you and the anger you’re experiencing by watching your thoughts. If you’re really spiritually mature, you might even try to see things from his perspective, (but it might be easier to start with the eggs). All relationships involve conflict; what’s important is that you are willing to shift to the solution and keep moving forward.