Being Fully Present
I think it’s unusual for a person to be fully present with another person. Why is this?
Listening ‘fully’ is challenging! Our mind is usually chattering along with the person speaking. When in conversation, there’s an unspoken expectation that one person will truly listen while the other talks, and that the roles will then be reversed. I think that often the ‘listener’ is not fully listening but rather thinking about what they want to say next. There are many distractions for the listener when trying to focus on the person speaking. What a great hairstyle! Her clothes are very nice. Great dress but blue is not her color. I’m not sure I agree with what she’s saying. All of these distractions while trying to be fully present.
How can we build on our ability to be fully present?
Being present is a skill that can be cultivated. When you remind yourself to be accepting and non-judgmental, you are increasing your ability to be present. What the other person is saying is important to them. Let their words be their words and allow these words to be as leaves blowing by in the breeze. Recognize them and let them pass without judgement.
Another way to flex your ‘being present’ muscle is to experience art, music, meditation, and nature. Being present with each of these helps build our ability to be fully present with another person. Each encourages us to slow down, pause, and experience.
A simple and easy way to practice the skill of being present is to take a deep breath when you feel the busyness of your day overwhelming you. Do a mindful minute. Take 5 breaths, in and out, slowly. You can resume your activity when you are done with your minute. You will be in a different place.
If you feel reactive while listening, ask yourself ‘what do I feel right now?’. Being aware of your emotions in the moment, good, bad, happy, or sad, will help reduce the urge to interrupt and help you to continue to listen fully. Being fully present is a skill. One that can be practiced and perfected. The reward is the appreciation others will experience when they feel that space is being held for them.
Big Hugs and Much Love,