Give Your Presence This Holiday Season
At holiday time, many think about presents that we give to one another, wrapped in shiny paper and tied with a pretty bow. But sometimes the very best present you can give, is actually your presence. Your presence is the gift that matters, the one that friends and family remember the most. Giving your presence, especially at holiday season, is something that anyone on your gift list will certainly appreciate.
In today’s hurried and rushed society, when are we truly present for each other? I’m sure you’ve seen people sitting with people, while texting to someone else on their cell phone. Or you’ve had the experience of doing several things at once, without fully enjoying or being present for any of them. It’s important to be present for your loved ones, because it is often what they remember most of all. Sadly, they also remember if you aren’t present for them – just as you may remember when others aren’t present for you too. So while this may seem like a simple gift on the surface, giving someone your presence, is truly one of the best gifts of the heart you can give.
What does it mean to be present for someone? At its most basic level, it means to be there for them. To listen fully to them. To engage in the conversation. To not interrupt them. To engage in the activities you are participating in, the meals you are eating and be part of the group or experience you are having with another individual. If you haven’t been doing this, you may be surprised at just how different it feels to be present for someone. Start by listening, truly listening to what someone says. Let them finish their thoughts before jumping in with a response. Ask them questions to help them expand on what they are saying. Appreciate with your whole heart this experience with them. In this moment, all you truly have is this moment.
Technology has certainly made things much more easy and convenient – you’d think it could help us be more present. With technology you can video chat with someone in another time zone, even another country! You can contact most people quickly on their cell phones or via instant message. But many people don’t really have meaningful conversations as they use technology. Try this: turn off your technology or put it away for one hour – just an hour – and try having a meaningful conversation with a loved one. Ask a grandparent to tell you stories about their life. Reconnect with an old friend. Mend a relationship that isn’t working as well as you’d like.
For the holidays, try to take the focus off of worrying about buying expensive gifts or having that “perfect” holiday season. Instead, focus on being present for your family and friends, being really there for them. There to listen, hug, laugh and share every moment of the holidays. Your presence – not just your presents and goodies – will be so appreciated especially at this time of year.