Your Presence is a Present

 

In today's crazy 24/7, cell phone, social media, multi-tasking, and over scheduled worlds, are we truly listening to our spouse, children, co-workers and friends when they are talking to us?

I profess to be guilty as charged.  

 

Recently I made a vow to be "Present when I am Present".  This sounds easy in theory but not as easy in practice.

 

Interestingly, this request came for my husband.  My husband makes no other demands on me whatsoever; no cooking, no cleaning, no scheduling activities.  I mean nothing!   One would think that fully listening was an easy request.  Well, let me tell you, it took work!

 

The bottom line is we are programmed to multi-task and many of us have made listening to one another just another item on our to do lists.  What I have learned through this experience is that even if you are listening while doing the laundry, paying the bills and unloading the dishwasher; you may be taking in the information, but does the person you are listening to feel like they are being heard?

 

 I have started to examine this behavior to see where else in life I am making the same mistake. 

 

At work, how many of you have said to a co-worker, while typing and e-mail, "Go on, I am listening"?  Meanwhile, you never look up from your computer screens. How many of you are on conference calls with people in the same office on separate phones, while continuing to do your e-mails?  Not to mention the remote attendants who are doing g-d knows what?! Come on raise your hands, we are all guilty.  Are we really taking in all the information being said?  Are we making our co-workers feel heard?

 

Now that my children are grown, out of the house (well kind of) and have their own lives, what I would not do to have the time back that I wasted doing my chores instead of sitting down on the couch and really listening to what they had to say!

 

This behavior also affects our friendships.  Texts and e-mails are just no substitute for a good old fashion girls’ nights out, walk on the trail, movie date, glass of wine or cup of coffee!

 

I now take my vow to be present when I am present very seriously.  I come home from work, throw down my briefcase and enjoy a nice glass of wine and great conversation with my husband.  I schedule one on one time with my son when he is in from college and continue to have Saturday nail dates with my daughter.  Weekly, I schedule phone calls with my remote team.  I do this when I am not in the office, so I can give them my 100% undivided attention.  I now never miss a weekend without at least one opportunity to spend time with a girlfriend.

 

I must admit that my life is a lot fuller and the world has not come to an end having not sent out one e-mail or failed to fold my laundry before going to bed.  I hope you have learned something from my experience.  Thank you for listening!

 

First posted on Dessert Diva Chronicles- February 2014

 

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