The Presents of Presence
The holidays are upon us and it’s time to make lists. But are you giving presents or presence? Let me break it down for you, according to my Google search the definition for each word is as follows:
Present (n.)-a gift
Presence (n.)-The state of existing or being there.
I’m all for seeing someone’s face light up as they unwrap my carefully chosen gift and seeing the joy fill their body as they see what it is. But what if coupled with that, you offer them more? What if, instead of just giving the gift, you give them you? I already know what you’re saying. “I’m there. I’m staying over for a few days. I’m present!” But are you? Or are you scrolling your phone and looking at everyone else’s holiday celebrations when you should be in the midst of your own?
Too often, we see a group of people gathered together and while they are in the same room, they may not be truly engaging with each other. Watching tv, scrolling social media, popping in and out of conversation…is your physical presence enough? What would happen if you gave them your full mental connection too?
Sis, the memories that people have with you are worth way more than the physical gifts you give them. Our experiences would be so much richer. Our time with one another is so short. Do you really want their memories of you to be sitting in the corner watching your feed or with your mind elsewhere?
Pull yourself away from whatever is distracting you and give the presents of presence to your loved ones. What does it mean? How do you give the present of presence this holiday season and forevermore?
It means less time scrolling and more time talking.
It means taking an interest in something that someone else is good at and asking questions or telling them to teach you
It means getting down on your kids’ (or the other littles in your life) level and playing
It means creating rituals and routines of uninterrupted time together (ex: tech free dinners)
It means being in the kitchen with whomever is cooking and learning your family’s secret…or if you’re doing the cooking, teaching the next gen how to do what you do
It means putting a regular cadence of meet ups with your friends at the top of the year before your calendar gets full (and not canceling later)
It means not mulling over your to do list in your mind while you’re with the people you love
It means more LISTENING. For real listening
It means not over scheduling yourself so that you can stay in the moment
It can mean whatever you want it to mean as long as it’s giving what it’s supposed to give—YOU. Your attention. Your time. Your interest. Your love. Your joy. Your laughter. Just you being you with the people you enjoy being with most. YOU can be the gift that keeps on giving if you prioritize the people that matter most to you and offer them undivided attention. And don’t forget, YOU need to be present for yourself too! Be sure to make those moments of presence and remember to DATEYOURSELFGIRL!