Meditation changed the way I think, changed my life and inevitably changed the way I love. It helped me to see and understand that I was subconsciously, but actively, sabotaging my relationships.

This prevented me from connecting, leading me away from positive feelings, eventually even prohibiting me from feeling at all. And how can you love when you can’t access your feelings?

Practicing mindfulness and mindfulness meditation in particular made me realize I really needed to start thinking nicer things about myself. So I did. It prepared me to be able to take a good look at myself without being judgemental and talking myself down again. What remained was a judgement-free curiosity to find out why I thought, said and did what I was thinking, saying and doing.

Next, it provided me with the ability to create a pause. In the past I did not take that pause, but responded automatically, directly and aggressively from a place of hurt, anger and, most of all, fear – not recognizing at the time that those intense emotions were long outdated and working against me. That in itself was already quite an accomplishment, but it didn’t stop there. Mindfulness helped me to be able to combine the two: a pause and no judgement. (Okay, just a little, but manageable!). This made me realize what I was doing and that I was the one – the only one – responsible for my reactions, especially those that made interactions spiral out of control. That was okay, because I understood where it came from and I wasn’t being judgemental about it. At the same time, I understood that if I was in charge, I could probably also put a stop to it. Or at least change it. And so I did.

For the first time in my 16 years of dating and relationship history I am in a relationship that feels good, solid, respectful and, most important, where I feel love. For myself and for my partner. I can give it. I can receive it. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes commitment, it is the hardest and easiest thing to do, I try, I practice, I fail, I succeed.

Worth. It . All.

The author of this post is an editorial contributor to Headspace. These are their views, experiences and results and theirs alone. This contributor was not paid for their writing.