Don’t Let the Air Steal Your Thoughts
May 6, 2022
“Wie Luft behandel.” Never heard that German phrase before? It perfectly describes the feeling of being looked at as through air, or feeling invisible.
You’ve probably felt it when surrounded by strangers, watching them look at you but not really see you. Maybe you smile at someone, and their expression doesn’t change, as if you’re not there. Maybe you’ve said hello and received silence in response. It can leave you feeling disliked or excluded, when really it’s probably because the other person is just distracted. You’re unintentionally left feeling hurt because they didn’t acknowledge you.
It’s tough to be present when your mind is full of thoughts and distractions. You’re still processing the book you just finished or the movie you watched last night. Your text messages and social media remain on your mind as you fight the urge to pull out your phone and check it. But being present and focusing on people in the moment is essential to fostering your relationship core.
Why Is It Important to Be Present?
We’ve all been ignored or looked through, and we’ve all done it to others, too. The phone is just
so distracting, and it takes our attention away from the people right in front of us.
Even parents’ relationships with their children are affected by the lack of being present. It’s explained in this article from Psychology today; parents’ cell phone distraction has such huge effects on their children. One study found that 1 in 3 kids feel unimportant because we’re distracted by our phones during family time.
It’s not just affecting our kids. Phubbing (phone snubbing) affects our relationship core because it impacts our spouses, friends, and anyone else we have relationships with or are forming relationships with.
Making eye contact and ensuring the other person has your full attention is crucial in building strong connections and being present. Turning your body toward someone and looking them in the eye shows them that you’re paying attention and listening to what they’re saying. It subconsciously builds trust and helps with retaining information.
So put your phone on silent, put it away, and look at your friends and family. Feel the benefits of being present, giving full attention, and receiving full attention from others. Watch as your dynamic changes and your relationships become healthier and stronger.
This week’s action tips:
Make meals a device free zone; turn it into a game! Have everyone put their device in a certain place, and whoever reaches for their electronic first has to do the dishes.
Manage screen time for yourself and your kids. Make sure you spend time in the day away from your phone, so your children can approach you without seeing you distracted by your phone. Initiating quality time and being present with your kids can really boost their self-esteem.
When hanging out with your friends, make sure they have your full attention. Make eye contact and let them know you’re present and listening. Don’t multitask during phone calls. Even if they can’t see you, they can tell if you’re listening fully or if you’re distracted by your laptop.
Want to know where you stand in the five values of life tied to happiness (your five cores)? Take this two-minute Core Values Quiz to get your core score in the five values of life.