Photo by Toa Heftiba via Unsplash

Don’t let your mind fuck up your relationship

Last Friday began just like any other day. I slept in too long, got up in a haze to have a shower… When I heard hurried footsteps outside my bedroom door, immediately preceding one of my flatmates bursting in.

“Where is he?” she asked hurriedly. The smell of wine on her breath made me queasy.

“What? Who?” I managed to get out.

It turns out that she was looking for her boyfriend, who at this time of the morning should have been fast asleep in bed. Apparently, he was gone without a note and my flatmate was in a spiral of anxiety and fear. She had been out drinking with friends until 3:00 AM on a “school night” and was dreading that her boyfriend was so angry that he had left and was plotting a break-up.

Jeez, this was a lot to handle one minute after waking from a dream-ridden sleep. I proceeded to calm her down, made her drink some water and sent her to bed to sleep until she had to get up for work. I then went on with my morning.

As I did so, I pondered my past relationships. I saw commonalities between what was happening in my flatmates’ relationship and issues I had encountered in the past. One major thing struck me as the root cause of many fights, disagreements and freak-outs; the mind.

The mind is that little voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough. It’s that voice that hints that your partner is cheating. It’s the voice that jumps to the worst possible conclusion when you can’t get a hold of your partner. It’s to blame for holding back your confidence and happiness, for stopping your presence in the moment.

But why would the mind do such as thing? The mind continues to act up in this way as it is its duty to serve and preserve the ego. The mind can be self-destructive sometimes, tearing down your confidence and happiness. For your sake, it’s best to catch it early and put a stop to it.

But how do you tell if it’s your mind fucking with you or a legitimate concern? You need to watch the thinker. Eckhart Tolle talks about this in the first chapter of his book, The Power of Now. Start paying attention to your thoughts. Where do they stem from? Are they ego-centric?

For me, like the rest of Generation Y, trusting others does not come easy. I guess we’re all the generation of kids who have been betrayed, scorned by lovers and friends. In past relationships I have been led astray by my mind, that silly little shit, who had convinced me of wrong-doings that were nonexistent. Over time, I’ve learned to quell these thoughts, by observing my thoughts and discerning whether they are well-founded or complete bullshit. It’s made me much more content.

In discerning the real from the crap, consider the following:

  1. Are the thoughts presented by your mind based on evidence?
  2. Are the thoughts a product of anxiety, stress, anger, or jealousy?
  3. When you quiet your mind and observe the thoughts, do they shy away from you and try to hide?
  4. What does your intuition tell you? Your gut feeling. Do the thoughts sit uneasily?

If you consider the thoughts in this way, you’re less likely to spiral downwards into a black abyss of overthinking, over-analysis and overreaction.

As for my flatmates; after a day of letting their minds run amok and a little bit of frustration and sulking, they made up, and are perfectly happy. As I assured my flatmate that morning, her fears were unfounded and the ordeal would not spell the demise of their relationship. They defeated their minds this round. I hope that they can continue to win this battle or quell the voice of their mind, else the mind’s unfounded predictions may come to pass.