San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Your partner Is your mirror

In order to find genuine happiness and lead empowered lives, we must first begin to live in the moment, which can be challenging. Mindfulness practices can help you cultivate this lifestyle by encouraging you to bring your awareness back to the present moment and focus your attention on one thing at a time. This column aims to open a space for readers to ask questions and receive answers from a mindful perspective.

Q: My husband and I have recently been having problems communicating, and any discussion we have ends in an argument. How can we get past this?

A: Your partner is like your mirror, a reflection of your own insecurities, which is why it can be so difficult to resolve an argument. The natural stance is to blame the other person.

When you choose to reflect about your own role in the situation, you find that the root is your own. This root is what is bouncing off of the other person – the reflection in the mirror. The difficult part is that these roots exist on a subconscious level, meaning that you are not actively aware of them.

When you are mindful about your role, you open your awareness and the possibility of change. What does it mean to be mindful? It means focusing your attention or awareness on one thing.

So how do you use mindfulness to find the root? First, you have to be willing to be honest with yourself. Let go of the blame, because it only blocks your perspective. Next, try to detach from the emotional aspect so you can simply observe what is going on inside of you. Where and what do you feel in your body? Let go of striving to be “right.” Be honest with yourself about what your needs truly are, and whether they are your partner’s responsibility. This is a process that becomes easier over time, so don’t be easily discouraged. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable – the insight and improvement you might gain in your relationship are worth it.

Natalie Garvey D., M.Psych., is a California native and an eight-year resident of Costa Rica. Recognized by the Costa Rican Professional Psychologists Association (4496), she dedicates her professional time to accompanying others on their path of self-discovery and healing. Send your questions to

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