Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want

Give the Gift of Presence: Try These Three Things

4 Comments

I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.

How often have you sincerely been able to say this? Or received this from another person?

Being able to truly be present when listening to someone else can be extremely difficult. It’s one thing to be present with oneself—noticing sensations, feelings and thoughts as they come and go. But, it is a whole other practice to do this same thing when in dialogue with someone else.

As Oprah Winfrey noted, people want to be seen and heard. And it is a great exercise for us to practice presence when given this opportunity.

We all can give the gift of presence when listening by doing these three things.

Attentive Listening

For all of the work I do to live a mindful and present existence, I still find it extremely difficult sometimes to be fully present when listening to another person. I’m either judging what they say or planning what I am going to say next or interrupting them to prove my point or negate what they said.

Sound familiar?

And, yet, none of these things are a practice in presence.

True presence requires me to refrain from judgment and simply observe what is said, felt or heard; to be in the moment and not be thinking about the future; to release expectations or attachment to specific outcomes; and to quiet my ego by detaching from my thoughts and beliefs.

“But who would I be if I didn’t argue that professional football players get paid a ridiculous amount of money?! I need to defend that and make sure everyone knows how I feel about it!”

Or … I could simply notice that thought for what it is—just a thought. And note that this particular thought causes my blood to boil and my heart to race—for some reason. And remember that this thought is not “me” so there is no need for me to defend or prove “myself.”

One of the most beautiful gifts we can give another is our presence by truly listening to and hearing them. When we are completely in the moment and can release any attachment to our own beliefs and expectations of another, we can truly hear that person without the need to craft a response or interject with our own ideas or even feel the need to defend.

Next time you are having a conversation and want to practice the gift of presence, try these three things:

Breathe, breathe, breathe.

I know it keeps coming back to the breath but we often forget just how powerful it is. If you are focused on your breath, it’s kind of hard to speak.

Listen to what is said and notice how you react—then let it go. 

Acknowledge any judgmental reactions or remarks that cross your mind, thank your inner voice for sharing and then let the thought go like a cloud dissolving in the sky.

Recognize what is your responsibility. 

It is not your responsibility to “fix” or “change” another person. It is also none of your business what they think or feel. You are responsible for what you believe and how you react. Be aware of when you start taking on responsibility for others and then kindly resign yourself from that job.

It’s not to say that you will always agree with everything everyone says—or need to, for that matter. But when you practice being present and truly listening to another person and learn how to check your ego at the door, you honor that person and yourself while cultivating peace.

What is one thing you can do the next time you engage in a discussion with someone to practice giving your gift of presence? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.

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Author: Presence Matters

Amanda Johnson has one mission: to help people turn their critic into their ally so they can love the life they have and have the life they want. She does this through her work as a writer and presence coach. After years of struggling with depression, motivation and finding any purpose, Amanda made a choice to transform her experience of life. She realized that when she resisted, judged or attached to “what is” she suffered and that this is true for all of us. From this place, the idea to help others cultivate ease and joy through “Presence Matters" was born. Amanda is a seasoned professional with more than 10 years’ experience performing, educating, facilitating and consulting for Fortune 500 companies with the personal mission to reach and change lives for the better. Her passion for helping others—be it a 2nd-grader or a CEO—and her ability to connect with and inspire those she meets are unleashed by her wit, charm, and eloquence, making her message resonate deeply with her audience. For more information and to work with her, visit www.amandajohnson.tv.

4 thoughts on “Give the Gift of Presence: Try These Three Things

  1. This is really good stuff, but hard stuff. I’m going to work on two areas: interrupting to get MY point across and trying to FIX someone. I will release the urge to interrupt. (My point will probably conflict with what is being shared anyway.) I will try to stick to “I believe… (for myself)” instead of “You should…” phrases. (A huge peace maker.) The idea of sharing the “gift of presence” is powerful.

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    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and what steps you can take. You’re right, it is hard so it’s great to focus on just a couple of things! And I love the idea of sticking to “I believe” rather than “you should” – that simple shift can be extremely powerful!

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  2. This is a great post. I tend to give advice far too often, because I think that when people share their worries with me that they want my advice on things.

    Truth is most of the time, most people just want to be heard out, not told how to live their life.

    When people want advice or an opinion they will most likely ask, I guess.

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    • Thank you for your comment. I suffer from the same disease 🙂 I practice often simply listening or sharing my own experience if it seems like that is necessary as opposed to dishing out advice. I have also found it can be useful to ask the speaker what they need from me. This can ensure both parties are on the same page and alleviate any guesswork. Appreciate your thoughts and continued support!

      Like

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