Over the last few weeks I’ve discussed how important it is to be aware of ourselves within our relationships, and especially when talking with someone else. We must learn how to be increasingly aware of our bodies, minds, and emotions as we react to others.
More often than not, the hardest part about becoming aware of ourselves in the present moment is exercising internal awareness. As I wrote in The Stories We Tell Ourselves, “You must learn how to be mentally and emotionally present with another person. The body can only live in the present, but the mind can live in the past, the present, or the future.”
Have you ever been in a conversation when the other person says something and you’re automatically transported to a long-forgotten memory? Or the opposite happens and you start thinking about all of the “what-ifs” that could occur if what the other person said came true? When that happens, you lose focus on the moment and on the other person.
They may still be talking, but your mind is far from what they’re saying. You’re no longer truly present, and you’re likely missing out on key information that could help you strengthen that relationship.
The next time you find yourself thinking about the past or the future while another person is speaking with you, remind yourself that the person in front of you is more important than the fictional people inhabiting your mind. If the memory or the future dream is particularly appealing, place it on a mental shelf and retrieve it later, when you’re alone.
In this way, you can learn how to bring your full mental and emotional presence to every single one of your relationships.