I am from a generation where we didn’t have technology, and I am beyond grateful for that. I grew up in a time where we went outside and rode our bikes, did some skateboarding, swam in the pool, climbed in the trees and played in the dirt. We came inside when the light streets went on. THAT is my generation.
When we ate dinner, we didn’t have a phone that our parents had to tell us to put away (however, my little brother was the biggest Pokemon card dealer in our hood). We sat and talked, connected, laughed, prayed, and really got to know each other. The technology was not normal in our day in age, but today EVERYONE knows that things have changed. Some may say that we, as a society, have lost connection with each other because of technology. Have you forgotten the “good ole’ days”?I miss connecting, talking face to face, discussing REAL LIFE with those around me. Let me give you 3 ways that you can practice being more present TODAY!
1. Put the Phone Away
So because I grew up without any type of technology and without a phone connected to my hip, I know what it is like to NOT have something that I constantly need to look at. This is a very common issue for a lot of us today. We feel as though we need to be on our phone as much as possible because we might “miss out” on something “more important”. I truly hate that idea because it comes off as very rude and negligent. With the phone in hand sitting at dinner, hanging out with family/friends, being at a party, or anything else that involves even just one other person, we literally separate ourselves from our present situation simply by staring into our phone. This “phone glued to hand” phenomenon, in my experience, makes me feel as though I am not as important as whatever/whoever is on that phone. Call me sensitive, but if I am putting aside time to be with you, be a little courteous and put the stinkin’ phone down. Look, I am guilty of this as well because quite frankly, I feel as though we have become addicted to technology, as a society. The difference between me and someone who could care less is that I am well aware of my problem and try to control it as best as I can.
Now let’s look at it from this perspective, have you taken time out of your life to be with a person or group of people and you feel as though you are not being heard due to the phone being a distraction? How did that make you feel? I know I have been in plenty of conversations where I was pouring my heart out to someone or venting about my life and felt as though I was not being heard or listened to. The key tip that I have tried to implement in any conversation (including conversations with my husband) is to clear my mental pallet so that I am not trying to think of a “solution” to the person’s venting. When we start a conversation without any “advice” in mind, we are more prone to just HEAR the person’s heart and what they are dealing with and simply BE THERE for them. (Like most everything I blog about, I am guilty of it just as much as the next person, so this is for me too). Ask questions about what they think they should do and if they ask for an opinion or advice, THAT’S the cue! Other than that, just be the listening ear to someone in need.
3. Take a Mental Note
With the first two steps, it just takes some intentional practice and skill to perfect. This next step is definitely the hardest. After you have a conversation with someone about something that is definitely on their mind, remember it and store it in your mental files. The reason I bring this up is that this is probably the one thing that I am worst at. I have had conversations with friends and family about things that were important, but then I just forget about them. But why do I forget? Because the conversation is over and the effort is not necessary anymore (in my own selfish mind). However, I have one friend in general who is so amazing at this step, that she truly inspired me. We had a conversation and after a few weeks when we reconnected, she asked me about specifics from our last conversation! I was so blown away and I felt so important to her as a friend, that it encouraged me to be more intentional about remembering things that are important to people who are important to me. It is seriously such a small act of love, but I can honestly say that it impacted my life so dramatically that I am typing a portion of a blog post about it! Make someone feel special by mentally recollecting something important that was discussed, and follow up on that specific topic. Trust me, whoever it is that you do this to will be encouraged and most definitely feel the love!
Although we are now living in a time of technology and the like, we need to remember that the most important thing is to reconnect with real-life people on a deeper and very intentional level. Listen to those that God puts in your life and put the dang phone down! EVERYTHING DOES NOT NEED TO BE DOCUMENTED! Take in each and every moment, snap one or two pictures and save them for later. Be in the moment with the ones you love because eventually, you will see that technology will be around a lot longer than the ones we love. REMEMBER IT, EMBRACE IT, PRACTICE IT.