One of the most effective ways to deepen and strengthen your relationships is through the power of your presence.
I am not talking about simply being there in the physical sense, but actually being present. Undistracted – completely in the present. Your sole purpose in that moment is to be with someone fully – to encourage them to be fully seen and heard. This is a powerful practice of giving and receiving attention and fuelling better connection. It is the very foundation of warmth and connection between human beings.
Being present seems a simple enough task, but it is not easy.
Presence requires skill and practice. Being fully present requires you to park your own stuff, switch off the chatter in your mind, generate an open receptiveness towards another and be fully immersed in the interaction between you.
Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to have many people give me the gift of their presence and I treasure those connections above all else. When I was younger my Gran was that person for me. She would stop what she was doing and sit and talk with me, asking questions, nodding sagely and never applying judgement. She was curious, consistent, and open hearted. Whether she was sitting on the back beach watching my brother and I chase waves or listening to me lament a lost love, my Gran was the epitome of presence. My wish is for everyone to have a “Gran” in their life and to become that presence for others.
Imagine a world where there is always a place for everyone to feel safe and connected.
Consider how often you are truly present for the people you care about and ask yourself if there may be a little room for improvement. Overwhelmingly, people at the end of their lives do not wish that they had worked harder or had more money. Most people in the last stages of life wish they had taken more time with loved ones. More time to be fully present. So where do you start?
Start where you are.
Wherever that is, it is exactly right. Perhaps you already have full and connected relationships. However, many people do not and wish that they could feel closer to loved ones. Start with the power of your presence. Give what we all long to receive. It does not have to be big chunks of time and if you are repairing a connection that needs work it will not feel particularly comfortable at the start.
Consistency is the key. Small differences matter. Think of what you might do to connect and invest the time to be present. You could put down the smartphone and simply smile at someone you care about and ask them how they are really going. Ask openly and with enough time to be curious and available. It may be that you give, or receive, a hug where you stop and feel the warmth and connection between you. Perhaps you could make a regular practice of going for a walk with someone you love or playing a game that will make you laugh. What you do isn’t as important as your desire to connect and be fully present for another.
The power of your presence is the most precious gift to build better relationships.