That statement has become a code in our family to remind us to focus all our attention on the moment we’re living in. It sounds simple, but for me it’s taken lots of practice to make it a way of life. My default state of mind seems to be worrying or zoning out, so I have to constantly and consciously remind myself to fully engage in every relationship that matters to me. That means that when someone I love is talking to me, I work to block out distractions and give them my complete attention so I can really connect with them. They need me to be all there so they’ll realize I value them and believe they’re worth my full focus. When I’m distracted, at best I miss out on what I need to know or understand about what they’re telling me. In the worst scenario I’m communicating that they’re literally not worth the time in my day.
Being all there isn’t always easy, but it’s also not complicated. For me, it takes just two steps. First, a conscious effort to clear my mind of outside distractions.
Second, to step into the other person’s world, which simply means to focus on what the other person’s joy or need or hurt really is. I’m not even sure how conscious I am of those two steps, but they’re there, and they seem to work. You may be thinking, Wow. There’s no way I can stop what I’m doing every time someone talks to me. Of course not. There are lots of people we deal with only on a surface level, like the neighbor down the street or the co-worker you pass in the elevator. You can’t bring a high level of intensity to every relationship, nor would you want to. Again, we’re talking about your key relationships: your spouse, your family, your closest friends.
Excerpted from One Month to Love by Chris and Kerry Shook
Daily Reflection: Who in your life do you need to make a conscious effort, today, to give your full attention?