Yesterday, 31 Days of Personhood: Day 19: Maintain a Teachable Spirit and Mind, we talked about keeping ourselves open and teachable. This applies even to life’s most painful lessons. We can never totally leave a situation behind, nor take advantage of opportunities if we close ourselves off from the outside world. Today, we will continue in a similar vein.
“The greatest gift you can give another is
the purity of your attention.”
As we continue to examine our own lives, and learn to have proper respect for ourselves, so too, should we be learning to have respect for others. While we look into our own struggles, we must be mindful that almost everyone is enjoined in some kind of battle.
We live in a fast-paced world in which we are bombarded with information, to-do lists and activities that far out-pace the amount of time or energy we often have available. Most of us have learned to cope to some extent by skimming. Skimming reports, posts, articles, and sadly even conversations.
I am not saying that every conversation has deeper meaning. And, I am not saying that you need to grind your hectic life to a halt every time someone wants your attention.
But, what I am saying is that if you are engaged in true conversation, be there. Be there and nowhere else. Turn off your devices. Look the other person in the eye. Turn on your active listening skills and be present.
We live in a society, not in a glass bubble or an isolette. As much as we might like to think we are on a solo mission, we are not. Or, perhaps if you think you are, then so is everyone else. Every man for himself.
We are designed to be social. Social so that we can help each other, and social so that we can learn from and teach each other. We do not have to learn every painful lesson of life first-hand. And, our joy is magnified when others are doing well and are happy.
What do I want you to do?
1. In a conversation that you have today or tomorrow, with a family member, a friend, or a colleague, I want you to stop.
2. Put everything else down, and listen. If you cannot do it then, let them know when you can have a talk. And, follow through.
3. Listen to the problem. Make eye contact. Replay, in your own words what they have shared.
4. Offer advice (if you actually have some), offer to help, or offer to be around to listen in the future.
I will bet that not only will you learn something important about them, you will also learn some very important things about yourself. And that is, after all, why we are having this conversation.