The TruePath Blog
Three Ways to be a Fully Present Friend
Building friendships used to be such a difficult skill for me. I did not grow up with a lot of friends and my parents did not have a lot of friends around either. I naturally gravitated towards people but I always found myself just shy of being the most awkward or weirdest person in the room. That actually helped me to connect with many different people on many levels. However, I never could get as deep as I wanted to with people and found it very challenging to fully commit to be someone’s friend.
It has only been within the last few years have I truly committed my personal time to developing and actively seeking friendships with others. I have learned that even though I possess a natural gift to network with people, one skill I truly lacked was being “fully present” for someone. Being fully present means having your focus (attention, thoughts and feelings) all fixed on the person when you are with him or her.
Multitasking gets in the way.
Multitasking in the Western culture is seen as productive, a badge of honor, and a worthy skill. However, multitasking robs of really hearing, feeling and connecting with another human being. Friendships and romantic relationships often break down because at least one partner feels that they aren’t being heard or paid attention to the level they desire. Being present with someone is both an active and intentional action but reaps long-lasting, deep rewards in the long run.
Here are three ways to be fully present friend or partner:
- Remove Distractions. Good listening starts with putting away the phone, close the door or stop reading your email. Give the person in front of you your full attention and let them know by your body language that you are giving them your full attention. If you are on the phone, allow yourself to be in a place that is free from multiple distractions.
- Re-frame What You Heard Them Say. In general, most human beings want to know that they have been heard and that someone is truly listening to them. We long for connection and this is one of the most intimate ways to do so. When the person has finished sharing, rephrase what you heard them say or at the very least re-frame the last few sentences, thoughts or feelings your friend or partner expressed. Or ask questions to clarify, to say more, give an example or explain further. You will be surprised at how connected you both will feel with each other.
- Refrain from giving advice…unless asked. Really…I don’t think I need to expound on this! Just don’t. Just listen.
True connections and relationships need to be nurtured and appreciated. And remember, “We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us – that we are all beautifully imperfect.” – Emilio Estevez
It is a commonly held belief, in American culture, that there is not enough time in the day. This statement rings true certainly for me as I am sure it does for some of you too. I have to remember that there are many cultures where time is irrelevant, unimportant and even abundant. Part of living an intentional life is creating small moments that add up to a fulfilled life.
Meditation has recently been in the public eye a lot lately; especially with the “invention” of meditation coloring books for adults. (I love mine by the way!) And I am sure you have seen many articles posted and re-posted on schools introducing meditation into the classroom to calm students down and to perform better in their academic studies. Even influential medical journals are showing the scientific benefits to the brain and improved body functions from daily meditation.
Meditation takes on many forms but most people think you have to sit in a complicated pose and be still for long periods of time. Meditation can actually be the opposite of that. Meditation’s purpose is to bring awareness to your body and as well as an inner peace and stillness. For some, meditation seems like a scary thing or too hard.
Meditation can be:
- time spent in prayer,
- running early in the morning for two miles,
- painting an abstract color form on canvas,
- sitting in a chair and studying the trees waving in the wind; or even,
- a walk along the beach listening to the waves crash in to the sand.
Meditation doesn’t have to be an intimidating “thing”. Actually, its’ quite simple. Here are three simple ways to add a 5 minute meditation to your day.
- Set your alarm clock to go off 5 minutes before you normally wake up but keep your current alarm time. Just lay there in bed and stretch. Place your one hand on your heart and one just above your belly button. Take three slow, deep breaths that push your belly up and down to expand your lungs. Picture three “things” that you are grateful for in your life: friends, family, or even the pillow your head rests on. Keep breathing and express gratitude. Before you know it, your regular alarm clock will go off to start your day.
- Park your car in the furthest park spot or identify one stop earlier on the train/bus than when you normally get off. Use this time walking to and from work to really see and hear what is around you. Be aware of the colors or signs you see. Carefully listen to the pattern of your feet walking on the ground. Consciously feel the air enter in your lungs. Your mind will start to slow down and pay attention.
- 5 Minutes before bedtime find “your” chair or space and get your headset on! There are multiple free apps for music as well as guided meditation. Pandora has several meditation channels; or you can search for meditation in your App Store and find multiple resources there. Set a timer for 5 minutes and listen; with your eyes closed and breathe.
As I mentioned before, meditation can take on many forms and it can take time, just like any new habit, to incorporate daily into your life. But you’ve got 5 minutes and three simple ways to incorporate meditation into your life now!
Need some help? Contact me today for a 30 minute Discovery Session to see how to get 5 minutes of meditation into your life today!
- Be Honest & Let Go.
An honest heart creates a clear mind. Allowing honest thoughts and communication to naturally flow attracts a healthy life and relationships. Honesty, even when it is uncomfortable, initiates opportunities to sleep better, feel better and connect deeper. Let go of relationships, habits and ‘things’ that do not keep you in a place of honesty with yourself, your higher power and relationships.
- Exercise & Eat Right.
Exercise is critical to a healthy mind, body and spirit. It works off negativity and when you feel healthy it shows in your appearance as well as how you communicate with others. Healthy food gives you much needed energy, regenerates old cells, and recharges your body.
- Meditate & Make Time for Yourself.
Meditation is actually very easy. What makes it hard is our willingness to sit down and be quiet. All you need is five minutes! You can sit in your car or your bathroom or right before bed, lie down (or sit) and close your eyes. Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your heart. Take a deep breath and feel the air fill your lungs. Hold it for three seconds and imagine one thing, person, opportunity that you are thankful for – it can even be as simple as being grateful for the space you occupy right now. Do this three times and open your eyes! It is as simple as that!
Use these three simple steps to re-charge your life everyday so that you can go into the day relaxed, renewed and ready to make it your best one yet!
Would you like to learn more about how to recharge your life to discover your True Path? Contact Alison today!
“There is no such thing as balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance,”
Sheryl Sandberg , COO of Facebook in 2012
In some respects, I agree with Sheryl’s statement that there is no such thing as balance. As a working woman and entrepreneur, I quickly began to understand that the belief of “when I find balance” or wishing for “balance” in my life was really just a load of crap! There is no such thing. But what there is is living a life in harmony with my beliefs, my desires, and what is most important to me.
Balance implies that everything is equal and stationary; life is just not this way. Nature itself is never in a state of balance but rather it all lives in harmony. The natural world is in a constant state of flux and so are we. But what we do have, that nature does not have, is the ability to transform our experience so that we live in harmony with life.
Here are just a few ways to live life in harmony:
- Accept your loved ones as they are today.
You can’t change people. Period. What you can do is change who you are and know that as you change, the way you interact with your loved ones will change too.
- Allow no one to make you feel ashamed, guilty, or insecure.
No one has the permission to make you feel you anything. Actually, you allow others to treat you the way they do. Without your consent, they just can’t treat you like crap. Instead, spend more time with people who really cherish you and honor your dreams, thoughts and opinions.
- Use tools and resources to assist you in time management or creating a budget.
Everyone can improve in these areas. Technology is really a benefit to assist you in this. For example, Google has a great calendar app that will help you block of time for appointments and provides reminders on your phone and email (for someone like me, this is so useful!).
- Be grateful for three things.
Every night for 5 days in a row, before you go to bed, write down three things for which you are grateful. This could be people in your life, your job, or even just the pen and paper you using to write down your gratitude list. Studies have shown that you write down gratitude points you sleep easier and have an overall increase in general well-being.
Would you like to learn more about creating a life of harmony? Contact Alison today to discover how a life of harmony is your True Path!