Do you realize that presence is a present? It is a true gift to be present with someone, even if that someone is yourself. I know mindfulness is still some weird, unknown thing that many people don’t understand. I’ll admit, I felt the same way until recently. I don’t have all of the answers and I still struggle with being present much of the time but I want to share a little about my journey so far.
Give the Gift
People want attention. That’s probably not a big surprise to you. They like to be listened to, heard, understood, accepted and valued. So why is it difficult to do that for someone? Why is it so hard to give them the gift of your full attention? The issue is getting over our selfishness. I don’t want to admit it but I am selfish. When I am with someone, my mind can drift to the things I need or want to do later that afternoon. I think about what I want to say next and what I want from the other person. This does not describe a person that is present, giving full attention. The good news is that mindfulness practices can help cure this condition. No, it won’t magically make you not selfish, I don’t have the answer for that yet but it will help you to be present and focus on others, even yourself. Next time you are with someone, don’t just be there, give them the gift of your presence.
Mind Your Mind
Presence is something that must be practiced and fits under Dale Carnegie’s famous saying, “perfect practice makes perfect”. There are many great resources on mindfulness out there so I won’t go into many details. I highly recommend that you at least do a youtube search to find a couple quick videos to introduce you to basic mindfulness techniques. The main thing is to take a couple of these techniques and practice them multiple times a day for at least a month. Changing your attention habits will take time. Don’t expect to just magically be present with people after watching one video and practicing for 2 minutes. It will take time. I’m still not good at it after a few months of working on it but I can tell a difference. Think about you last interaction with someone, rate yourself on how present you were with them. Did you focus on what they were saying? How often did your thoughts wander? How often did you miss what they said because you were waiting to talk? Just be honest with yourself to get a starting point.
Pay the Price
I’m sure you have heard the term “pay attention” many times before but have you actually thought about the meaning. When you pay, you exchange money (or attention) for a good or service but what do you get in return for giving your attention? You get to know the person you are with. You are exchanging your attention for a connection with another human being which is extremely valuable. You are also exchanging your attention for making the other person feel something. They feel heard, respected, and connected. In this case, the return is much greater than the investment. By practicing mindfulness and being aware of your ability to be present, you open up many more opportunities to make others feel connected so isn’t that worth spending time practicing each day?
Walk the Walk
None of the techniques for mindfulness and presence are difficult. Anyone can do them so don’t feel overwhelmed and push past any preconceived notions you have about what it is like. There isn’t any other way to explain it other than to say, try it. Find a teacher on youtube that you feel comfortable with and just take a few minutes each day to work on it. Honestly work on it. Give it a true effort and you will start to see changes in how present you are with people in any situation. You will start to feel a different connection and others will notice it too. Remember, presence is a present. Be ready to give that gift each day. If you would like to know more about my journey with this, feel free to reach out to me using the contact form below or DM me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.