In my newsletter this month I made a plea to my readers to simply “Be Present and Be Curious” with themselves and their relationships. Doing those two things can reap huge rewards in relationships such as connection, intimacy and understanding. And so today, I want to close out my blog posts for the time being on this topic of mindfulness.
Connecting All of This to Conversations
First: Be Present
You need to make a conscious effort each day to be present in your life and in the lives of others. That can sound very vague and complicated, but it actually just takes effort and practice. So let me start with just three simple suggestions to get the ball rolling.
- Breathe and Pray.
- Listen. Anytime someone is speaking, concentrate on just listening, rather than forming what you are going to say next. Listen to your spouse. Listen to your kids. Listen to your friends.
- Be patient. Anxiety often emerges when we aren’t patient and we are trying to live into the future. Just be patient.
Second: Be Curious
You need to make a conscious effort each day to be curious in your life and in the lives of others. We often assume a lot about what we think our spouse or someone else is saying or thinking. And over time we lose curiosity for this person who at one time in our lives was a mystery that we couldn’t get enough of. And when curiosity leaves our relationships they often dry up and become stagnant. So let me start with just three simple suggestions to get the ball rolling.
- Remind yourself in every interaction with someone to be curious. When we are curious we are not judgmental. Rather, we are like a news report trying to find out as much information as possible. We want to know more.
- Ask questions that you haven’t asked someone in a while. Or perhaps you have never asked them. Questions like, “Tell me what you experienced this week at work that was very affirming?” “What was the best moment parenting this week?” “Where did you feel most close to God today? Where did you feel most distant from God today?” “What is something that you have been really passionate about this year, and how can I best support that passion?” Ask questions of curiosity.
- Make a rule that when you go on a date with your spouse, or spend time with your kids or friends, that you will create space to get to know them — you will be curious. Often we spend a lot of time with people gossiping about friends, neighbors, family, or talking about work and the business of family life. Switch up the conversation and be curious about other things.
So for the next month I want to challenge you to be present and be curious in your relationships. Not only will you live more in the present, but your anxiety will feel different, and your relationships will begin to transform.