“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
In this digital age, smartphones are easily the most entertaining device we carry around with us on our day to day. We can use them to text, surf the web, play games, watch videos, and most importantly… to take selfies. Yet are our close relationships suffering when we choose to be on our phones rather than communicate directly with the one we’re standing next to?
Genuine listening and reflecting back what one has heard brings people together, and being together is what loving relationships are all about; whether it’s with a partner, parent, grandparent, sibling or friend.
Not listening to someone when they’re speaking can leave the other person feeling not cared about, and pretending to listen to them can be even worse.
Smartphones have many wonderful and useful abilities, but they can also be very distracting.
In much the same way that T.V. became a somewhat unhealthy addiction by keeping people holed up inside of their homes while sitting on the couch, smartphones can act as mental boxes in which people seem to be wearing horse blinders while reading their phones and tuning out the outside world.
If we stop and consider the message we are sending to the human beings in front of us when we are busy on our phones, it may help us to take care of those we love when we’re with them.
Communication is key, so take a minute to put the phone down and listen to your loved ones when they talk to you. If you’re not sure if being on your phone bothers them, simply ask.
A healthy balance can always be achieved; one in which your need to check your phone is met and where also those closest to you feel loved and their needs have been met by being heard.
Here are some wonderful ways to be there for those around you:
Having eye contact while smiling
The eyes are windows to the soul, and when you meet eyes with your loved ones, the two of you are sure to connect.
Listen to what they have to say, and then repeat back what you heard in a gentle way. Reflecting content and feelings back to the speaker really helps them to ‘feel heard’, and is one of the sure ways to help your loved one feel loved by partaking in what is actually the foundation of all counseling related psychology.
Limit surrounding distractions
Turn off the T.V. and put away the phones for a few minutes.
Make use of your wonderful facial expressions
A smile is an act of love, and those around you will surely appreciate receiving one from you. Showing your interest in what your loved one has to say can really help to keep you both connected in a loving way.
You are Loved.