The mad rush to the mall is deceiving.
It tells us that the best gift to give is the latest gadget, the softest sweater, the newest shoes, the sharpest power tool, or the most delicious cookies. Those things, given with love and thought are fantastic choices, but the best gift of all is one we don’t always consider: Our presence.
Our presence is a gift that can truly be transformative. When we give our full and undivided attention to our loved ones we are sending messages far more valuable than any emoji-laden text.
So what could, and should, we be putting out into the universe?
- I’m Listening. Think about this scenario: We set up a time to meet a friend for coffee. We grab the coffee settle in with them and begin speaking. As they offer us insight into their current challenges or triumphs our attention drifts to another person or group of people in the cafe (or to a past event, maybe even to a future concern of our own). We might comment to our friend about the group, the past event, or the future concern. When we do, it becomes apparent to our friend that we weren’t really listening to them, they may feel less than cared for in that moment. What if, instead, as we listen to their concerns, we decide to ask about their lives since we last met, ask about their family or partner, ask how they’re doing in the wake of their recent troubles, or just spend a quiet moment with them. In this instance, we are providing them space to feel cared for and respected. Our phone can buzz and beep, but our presence remains with our loved one. We’re LISTENING.
- You Are Important To Me. By being fully present, we let our loved ones know how much they matter. Imagine that you haven’t seen you uncle since last year’s holiday gathering. Instead of half-listening to his stories, you remain fully present and engaged in a conversation about food, wine, his kids, your work, and each of your dreams for the new year. A cell phone buzzes and beeps, but you both refrain from checking pockets and purses to discover who might be trying (albeit unknowingly!) to steal the moment. Your actions speak volumes; by holding the space for each other, you indicate that time spent together is more important than whatever a little lit-up box has to offer. This message can be a difficult one to send nowadays, but it is a valuable one.
- I Love You. When we take time to be truly present with someone, we have the opportunity to dive deep and truly connect. It doesn’t matter if the connection is platonic or romantic because it is always authentic. The “I love you” comes across in our willingness to ditch the “I’m busy” vibes. We feel the love in the showing up; the being there. It could be as simple as giving someone a ride, or helping to wash the dishes – with full focus and attention.
- I Love Myself. Yes, we all need a reminder. Let’s commit to taking a look in the mirror and offering up a quick “I love you” everyday, plus make time for self-care. Meditation, yoga, nourishing meals, and a full night’s sleep (and maybe a nap or two).
When we allow ourselves the chance to be truly present with someone it may feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at first. We might fight it with distractions (phones, tv’s, and the like) or avoid it by staying “busy”. At the same time, trusting someone with our time and presence is a sign of love that is far more valuable than any material gift we might find lining store shelves. Our presence can be transformative: It can transform our experience of the world around us, transform our connection to loved ones, and transform our own lives.
Nicole Salvatore, M.A. is a writer, coach, and yoga teacher (RYT-200) who holds her master’s in counseling psychology. Her writing spans a variety of topics including wellness, exercise, psychology, mindfulness, personal, productivity, self-care, and self-development. Nicole has created blogs for local non-profits, tech startups, and others in need of content that creates interest in the work that they do. Nicole is also a creative writer ready to tackle new and interesting projects with her signature brand of thoughtful, informative, and heartfelt content. As a coach and yoga teacher, Nicole specializes in helping selfless women stay stellar by reconnecting to themselves, recharging on what brings them joy, and recommitting to nurturing themselves through self-care. Nicole infuses her workshops, classes, and one-to-one work with opportunities for creativity, yoga, self-care strategies, and with mindful living practices. When she isn’t writing or on the mat, you can find Nicole at the beach with loved ones, exploring new restaurants, or volunteering with a local non-profit called Root To Rise. If you have a project or event idea or would like to learn more about opportunities to collaborate, you can connect with Nicole on her website (NicoleSalvatore.Com) or on Instagram (@NicoleSalvatoreLLC).
Never Miss a Post!
The Top Three Reasons for Joining NJYC
The greatest teachers, studios, classes and communities are in the Garden State.
You are ready to inspire and be inspired.
You believe in living a life you love, supported by a practice that makes you feel amazing