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Why take the time to stop, look and listen

A dear friend mentioned that self esteem comes from our parents. This was not news to me as I thought it was about our sense of value and that it most likely came from our parents…they/we are always the culprits. More importantly and specifically it is from being consciously listened to with eye contact. This sounds simple right? Not so simple these days. The busier we are the more things we are doing at the same time fracturing our attention from others. Not on purpose as if we don’t care, we just feel the pressure of time bearing down on us and are not present in the moment.

How about when you are chatting on the phone with a friend, are you doing the dishes or feeding the dog? I have noted that there have been times when I have been doing several things simultaneously and stopped to wonder what I was doing. Writing is one thing that I do not or maybe cannot do at the same time as anything else. Working with clients is another time I can stay focused on just the other person, but as that is mostly over the telephone eye contact is rarely a part of it. Listening with intention becomes primary and equally effective when the voice is all you have. Meditation is another but almost all else it is a real effort to stay focused on just one thing, or person.

Okay, go back. Go way back (for some of us it may feel like an eternity) to when you were a child. What kind of attention did your mom give you? Was your mom attentive to you when you were a wee one toddling around? For some, you may answer “of course she was!” But for many you either hope she was, don’t know or are sure she was not.

Mom may have been overwhelmed with many children and depended on older siblings to help take care of your needs or maybe even off at work before you were even one year old. Things have changed and moms get to stay home longer than say thirty years ago. Is it possible she was at home baking cookies when you got home from school? Or was she frantically trying to get everything in the house done like laundry and supper then baths and snacks with no real time to even read a book and tuck you in with a big hug.

Was there real time for listening? Can you envision in your mind’s eye her looking into yours with loving care and attention? Some of you can and some of you are getting a little uncomfortable now and maybe even a bit resentful. This is not my goal here. It’s about how we all can make a difference for others while we go along in our day. How can we affect our children’s, parents, friends and associates lives? One person at a time we can raise their self-esteem, their sense of personal value by giving them a small moment of your time.

If you don’t think that listening has value, just go back and think about someone who did – maybe your dad, grandparent, neighbor, relative, teacher or friend. When they took the time to really give you that care and attentive listening – how did you feel? I know that I felt special. I felt worthwhile. I felt wanted. I felt cared about. I felt loved! I no longer felt invisible in the world, even if just for a moment. Somebody thought that what I had to say was important. It felt GREAT!

Even just eye contact with a stranger walking by can more often than not elicit a smile of knowing. Knowing that they really are alive and seen by at least one other person can lift their spirit. We can go along our days unconsciously hardly seeing another person or we can make a decision that we matter enough, others matter enough to give them the time and care to stop, look and listen.

If you want to lift the SPIRIT through the self esteem of our world one person at a time, please forward this post on.

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  1. Pingback: "Listening" to Improve Communication and Enhance Parenting | The Intentional Parent

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