Today, we live in a world with so many distractions. Phones are going, tv is on, music is blaring and mowers and leaf blowers are the noise outside. It can be hard to be attentive.
I had the opportunity to go to the pond this past weekend. What a much needed release from all the stress and noise of the last few weeks! It was a relaxing time to be attentive to nature. I got to hear the soothing sound of the water splashing up on the banks. There were birds chirping in nearby trees and an occasional plop from fish snagging some bugs off the top of the water.
Walking around the pond, I was able to see the female fish guarding their nests of eggs in the underwater plants, while other fish tried to attack them. I could see tiny tadpoles swimming frantically trying to escape bigger fish coming in to eat them. I would have missed all this if I hadn’t been looking closely and paying attention.
Like anything else attentiveness is a character trait that must be learned and practiced. It is a discipline. It’s what many motivational speakers mean when they talk about being “present”. If you want to improve your relationships with people, work on being attentive.
Have you ever met those people who remember things about you that you didn’t realize they had noticed? There’s that friend who remembers your favorite chocolate or book. Maybe you have an aunt who always seems to find the perfect gift for you. They’ve learned the gift of attentiveness.
When you talk with someone, do you look at them, their eyes, their facial expressions? Can you pick up how they are feeling? Do you put your phone down, out of sight? Do you ask questions?
Attentiveness is listening with not just your eyes and ears but with your heart. An attentive person genuinely cares what another person has to say. They care for the well being of others. They look for ways to make another person feel valued.
5 keys to being attentive:
1. Look at someone when they are speaking to you. Don’t be afraid to look them in the eyes. Be interested.
2. Listen intently to what they are saying and try to understand their point of view. Make mental notes. Ask questions.
3. Sit up straight and lean in to the conversation. This helps you to pay attention and be more present with them. This also lets them know that you are interested in what they have to say.
4. Being attentive to others means not drawing attention to yourself when someone else is speaking.
5. Don’t let other things in the room be a distraction. Focus and concentrate. Give this person your undivided attention.
Teaching our children to be attentive is very important, especially in this day and age. So many young people today cannot even look people in the eyes. They don’t know how to make conversations. Their phones are their distractions.
Like everything we discuss in this blog, attentiveness is a trait you can use to build a better life. Attentiveness is a gift you give to others but it is also a gift for you. Your life will be richer if you practice it. Develop it and make it a habit.
God bless. —Barb