Ah, relationships: this is where we face our greatest challenges, and where we do our very best learning.
Humans are social beings – we need to connect with others in order to feel safe, supported, and to learn and develop. Our relationships are precious. If we’re to get the very best from them we need to nurture them, we need to put some effort into making them the best they can be.
Over the next three weeks, I’ll be sharing with you three simple tips to improve any relationship very quickly. Here’s the first tip.
Paying attention may sound like such an obvious thing. However not paying attention to each other has become a growing problem. In a world where we have so much information at our bidding— we’ve become used to diluting our focus to include several things at once rather than giving 100% of our attention to one thing.
Being only part present in a conversation means you’re only partly connected with that person. And relationships need connection. After all that’s what a relationship really means –being in a state of connection with another.
Rather than half listening to someone while you stare at a screen, choose to give all your attention to the person you’re with for those moments. As you do this you honour your relationship by giving it the gift of exclusivity that it deserves.
A great way to help you focus on this is to simply take a breath. There’s an art to this – don’t sigh (that would be off-putting to the other person), but simply notice your breathing. Paying attention to your breathing will automatically put you in a more relaxed and focused state of mind so that you can pay attention to the person you’re with. Try it.
Also, make sure to look at the person you’re communicating with. All too often we talk over our shoulder to someone while we’re doing something else, all the time not realising how disconnected this makes our relationships.
Turning towards someone and making eye contact is an automatic way of saying “I’m here with you now— just us here together because you matter to me.”
Whether it’s a family member, a friend or a colleague – try these paying attention tips for just one week and see how you get on.