When you are talking to someone and they are giving you their undivided attention you naturally feel valued. We all do. Their eyes are focused on you and they are listening to what you are saying because they care. It is the greatest gift we can give one another. How often do you experience this on a personal level? How many people can you count in your life that care enough to stop the chatter in their minds to fully listen to you? The number is not as important as the actual mental activity of considering it.
When I see parents or children busily texting or reading their emails when they are eating out or with others I have to wonder who or what is more important than the people they are with at the moment? This thought is usually followed up in my mind with the question, ‘Is anyone in there?’ Training ourselves to focus on the person who is talking is not as difficult as it may seem but it doesn’t just develop naturally. It takes practice. Ultimately, it says more about the respect we demonstrate to others than it does about who we are or what we are doing in our lives.
There was a point when multitasking was thought to be the in thing to do. Supposedly it showed others how busy, how important or how intelligent we were. Research has shown that multitasking does not increase productivity or effective human relation skills. Yet, when we allow our minds or eyes to wander when listening to others we are, in fact, multitasking and, in effect, not being efficient or effective with our communications or thoughts.
Basically it all boils down to focus. We can train our brains to better focus by starting with simple tasks we do around the house. The task has to be done anyway so why not use the time to think solely about the task. I can almost hear you thinking … seriously? Am I really suppose to think totally about sweeping, doing dishes or whatever? Yes, as strange as it may sound that is exactly what I am talking about. Using a simple task to train your brain to focus will help to develop the habit of focusing on the most important element – other people – in your lives. By controlling the immense amount of random thoughts that easily pop into our heads especially when we are doing simple tasks we can develop the skill to truly HEAR others in our head and our heart. Using this simple task approach is much harder than it sounds. Just try it and see how hard you have to work at refocusing continually.
When we are not fully present it is exhausting and even frustrating to all concerned. Often our minds become involved in creating internal dramas or busy misinterpreting what we think was said rather than what was actually spoken which can result in misunderstanding or even conflict. Whether we want to admit it or not most of us can read each other’s body language like a book. My question then is our own emotional book demonstrating fact or fiction to others?
When you find someone who genuinely cares enough to be fully present with you it is a gift from the Universe. Likewise, when you are fully present with others you will feel more engaged, motivated and achieve a greater peace of mind. The ultimate test which you will pass with flying colors is when someone says to you, ‘Thank you for listening to me. You make me feel like my thoughts or concerns are really important to you.’
Have a great few days!