Have you recently felt that you are rushing your life and your relationships? Well, maybe you’re in an autopilot relationship.
In the age of social media and daily “routine”, are we really living our relationships?
It’s 6:30 AM and the alarm goes off. Even though you love to be kept surrounded by the warm comfort of your blankets, all you have to do today is swamp your body, making you jump out of bed.
You start moving through your day as if you were speeding on a highway, driving as if you were hypnotized, and switching from one thing to another. You can drive kids to school, go to work, attend meetings, overcome conflict with a coworker, pick kids from school, run to soccer practice, come home to make dinner, help kids with homework, feed the dog, and clean. Kitchen, listen partially to what your husband tells you about their day, and put the children to bed.
You stop for a brief moment and collapse back into your bed, only to start over at 6:30 the next morning. You can feel the anger and resentment rising to the surface.
“Is this really my life?”
This is your life on autopilot:
You are separated from yourself and those around you.
Of course, you need and want to “be there” for your children, spouse, and co-workers, but your inner voice can’t help but shout, “There has to be a better way!”
How do you get off autopilot so you can really live?
It all starts with shifting your focus. The key is to be aware of your feelings, habits, patterns, and general “preoccupation” so that you can learn to carefully step over yourself the moment you notice you’re engaging in habitual autopilot behavior.
Here are three strategies to decouple the autopilot and live a waking life:
1. Adjust in your body.
The first step to waking life It is adjusting how you feel.
Understand and be aware of everything your body senses.
For example, when you take a shower, focus on how the water feels as it runs down your back. When you drink coffee, tea, or juice in the morning, take a moment to enjoy each sip rather than take it. Pause for the day, and really focus on how you feel when you interact with your friends, co-workers, and the ones you love.
Beware of the tenders of emotional connection and go for it. The goal here is to be aware of what you feel, hear, see, and smell. Be aware of every sensation, and pay close attention to any faint whispers of “gut instinct.”
As you begin to get in tune with your body, you will begin to decide when the autopilot will take over. From this space, you can choose what you want to focus on for yourself and within your relationships.
Want to learn more about what you can do to get off the relationship autopilot? Read the five stages of a relationship
2. Define and set your intent.
Focus on your relationship with your partner, take a moment to fit in what you want.
What is your intention when you are with them?
Your intention may be to listen more deeply, letting go of blame and criticism, or simply to be more honest, vulnerable, or present.
Whatever your intention, take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to think about your desired outcome.
With kindness and self-compassion, take responsibility and release what prevents you from fully participating. Without making a judgment, be aware of what’s going on.
For example, if your intention is to deepen your sense of connection with your spouse, start by sensing the situation between the two of you.
3. Have a daily ritual to connect with your partner.
With this new focus on your feelings and intentions, establish one daily activity or routine with your partner where you would like to be more alert, attentive, and engaged.
For example, have a stress-reducing conversation where you only talk about stress outside of your relationship. Actively listen and pay close attention to what your partner is saying. Whatever your daily routine or activity, commit to giving it your full attention and focus. Ask yourself, “What really matters here?“
Want to learn more about what you can do to get out of an autopilot relationship? Read 10 Things Most Successful People Do Right Before Bed
Stammering happens on the autopilot of the best of relationships, so be patient and stay focused on the desired outcome. In addition to these three steps, disengaging from autopilot and leading a waking life also includes mindful empathy for yourself and others, the practice of forgiveness, and living with an open heart.
Turning off the autopilot allows you to see life from a new perspective and allows you to make different, more informed decisions.
As you begin to make choices in this waking state, you will notice that your actions naturally begin to align and become more consistent with the desired outcomes—in your relationship and in your life.
Learning to connect from where you are deep will enable you to hear what your heart is saying, ultimately enabling you to respond rather than respond.
Engage in these three strategies to make more appropriate decisions.
Written by Tony Parker, Ph.D.
If you and your partner are going through an autopilot relationship, don’t be afraid to think they’re doomed. It’s entirely possible for both of you to get past this, but only if you both work together. It’s not always easy, but true love, support and mutual effort can go a long way in straightening wrinkles.
If you want to learn more about dealing with relationship autopilot, check out this video below: