I find it helpful to visualize continuums for certain aspects of my life that I’d like to see change for the better. I present these continuums to my clients as well, and I’ve seen these continuums be helpful tools for them to assess themselves and figure out where they are and where they hope to be.
For instance, when I discuss what it means to graduate from sometimes being present in a relationship to being a person of presence, where being constantly “in the moment” doesn’t require as much conscious work as it once did, I use the following continuum
1. I notice and am aware that I’m not being fully present in my relationships.
2. I see the need for being present and consciously work to re-focus my full attention on others
3. As being present with others becomes a daily habit, it takes less effort for me to honestly relate to another person.
4. In becoming a person of presence, the possibility for true connection in all of my relationships greatly increases.
We all begin on the left side of the continuum. We first have to notice that we’re (often) distracted in our relationships. Then we have to see and understand why being present is so important for every one of our relationships. As we work on being present as often as we can, the habit becomes ingrained, just like becoming physically disciplined and choosing to work out, even when you don’t want to.
Finally, on the right side of the continuum sits our ultimate goal, which can be challenging to attain: we become people of presence who experience deeper connections in all of our relationships. And that’s certainly something I want to strive for every day of my life.
So, where are you on the continuum of presence, and where would you like to be?
To learn more about this subject, read Chapter 15 of The Stories We Tell Ourselves.