We’re starting Week 1 of our Mindful Relationships Challenge, and in this week, we’re going to become mindful of what comes up.

This week is about bringing awareness, not needing to solve anything. It’s a simple but powerful first step.

An important note: This challenge is great for people who are in long-term romantic relationships … but that’s not required to do the challenge. You can do the challenge with any important relationship in your life. If you have a romantic relationship, use that — it’s important that you focus on that relationship if you have it. But if you don’t, pick another important relationship — your best friend, your sibling, your parent, your child, your mentor, your business partner, etc.

The focus for Week 1 is: Explore what comes up. We’ll bring mindfulness and awareness to noticing the stress, frustration, pain and other emotions that might come up in our most important relationships, along with our age-old narratives.

Let’s talk about how to do that.

Emotions & Narratives in Relationships

When we are in relationship with someone else, things will come up — we’ll feel love, joy, admiration … but also frustration, hurt, jealousy, anger, resentment, irritation, disgust, fear, shame. These are the emotions we want to bring some awareness to.

What emotions do you notice when you think of this person? When do they come up? What seems to trigger them?

Just notice. Don’t judge, don’t beat yourself up, don’t try to change or control things — just notice. Observe what comes up and when, and ideally, take brief notes, either at the end of the day or during the day. Learn by watching.

And then there’s the narrative in your head about the other person. Sometimes it’s a positive narrative — they are thoughtful, they love you, you love them, they are sexy, they are admirable. But other times the narrative isn’t as generous, and it’s important to notice how your narrative goes.

Some examples of narrative about the other person:

And so on. Again, just notice. Don’t judge, don’t try to change, don’t beat yourself up. Just notice your narrative. And take a few notes.

Post what you notice in the #relationships channel on our Slack community.