When we think about mindfulness, it is often to encourage our readers to focus on inner qualities, self-talk, or private thoughts during quiet moments. What about the mindfulness you bring to the lives of others? You cannot be inside their minds, but they can be “on” yours.
Indeed, one of the challenges of living a mindful life is that it feels somewhat uncomfortable at first to focus on our own thoughts and feelings. It’s easier to think about fixing someone else’s
problems instead of the soul searching required to reduce our own. Mindfulness for others lets you balance your desire to help others and your personal growth that serves you.
One way to use mindfulness to help others is to set an example. If you notice a friend rushing through an activity or panicking about something, can you share with that person everything you know about mindfulness? A common example might be to ask that person, Is this something that needs to be answered or solved right this minute?”
Another way is to pause and pay attention to how interactions with others make you feel. Whether in the moment, or afterwards, reflect on your relationships with others using the mindfulness techniques we have suggested. Slow down, check in with yourself, ask yourself about your experience with that person. Are you doing something that serves to please
that other person at your own expense? Are you making an excuse for doing something you don’t want to do because you think it helps someone else?
Finally, reflective thinking is a form of mindfulness. It’s the act of pausing to examine your own beliefs and thought processes. Using reflective thinking to look at your attitudes and opinions of the people in your life can benefit those relationships. The goal is to feel comfortable challenging your own negative beliefs about others in order to improve your social interactions. If you can do that, you can be a role model for someone else to do the same. One person at a time would be plenty of progress!
“Mindfulness and reflective thinking” by Oxford Learning
“4 Pointers for Using Mindfulness to Stop People Pleasing”
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.