I read this quote the other day and was immediately convicted. How many of you are as guilty as I am at not being ‘all there’ sometimes? I gotta be real with you guys, I am so guilty.
I’m listening! (but really, I gotta quick answer this text.)
Uh huh! Yeah. (Oh, look at this great Instagram picture she posted.)
I’m sorry, what did you say? (Shoot, I was reading an email as you were telling me a story.)
We live in this world where we are so distracted by everything going on around us. And it’s not that I don’t want to be there with you, listening or hearing your story. It’s like my thumb takes over and before I even realize it, I am swiping a screen, pulling up a text reply or silently thumbing my way through Facebook. I am listening to you! I promise, well, sometimes. But the truth is, I am not always all there and don’t even realize it.
Many of us watched this video that went viral a few months ago and there seemed to be a steady stream of reposts and declarations to ‘look up’ for a while. I was on board. Putting my phone down!! I declared. But let me take this picture first, answer this work email, send this Snap Chat. I know in my head that I am missing out on so much by not always being in the moment, but it is incredibly hard for me to break this bad habit.
When I was working full-time, we constantly brought our phones with us to every meeting. 8 members of a leadership team discussing important things while our phones dinged, emails came through and we all made sure we weren’t needed immediately. It’s silly really, if anyone needed us that badly they would be able to find us. But I became tied to having my phone face up, on the table, ready for the next distraction to come my way.
I don’t blame work. I am trying to get better at turning off notifications on my phone so that I am not so easily distracted by a lit up screen that is informing me that someone played me back in Words with Friends. I know how frustrating it can be when you are trying to talk to someone and they keep glancing at their phone as if they are waiting for something better to come along. Ahhh, I don’t want to be that person and I am afraid I have become that.
To my friends and family who have been subjected to my easily distracted ways, I am so sorry. It has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with my extroverted, distracted self. I am working on it, I really am. I am trying to leave my phone in my purse, turn off the ringer or not check it unless someone calls 3 times in a row. The person who is texting me is not more important that you. Our time together and our relationships take priority, even if my actions don’t always echo the truth that’s in my heart.
And as embarrassing as it is, if you notice I am doing this to you, please call me out on it. Last night during a date with my sister, I realized that she had to tell me 3 times to watch something before I lifted my eyes from my screen. Not okay. My husband puts up with my downfall the most and I am learning that if I need to be on my phone while we are interacting, it’s helpful to explain what I am doing and how long it will take so that he knows. For example, if he comes in and starts talking to me, it minimizes his frustration when I say “Hun, I am in the middle of replying to a text message. I really want to hear your story; can you give me 1 minute to finish my thought so I can fully pay attention to you?” Or sometimes it’s evaluating the priority at that moment – does this text reply need to go out right now? Can it wait? Is someone in crisis or is this an opportunity to make sure my hubby knows that he is important to me?
“Wherever you are, be all there.” This may mean my text responses are not immediate or the emails not replied to on the spot. It could mean I need to schedule more face to face (or ear to ear) time with you so I can chat with my phone away and without distractions. I want to be someone whom others recognize as being “all there” and making them feel cared for and important in that moment. I need to let go of the expectations I have for myself to stay on top of everything, because as a result, moments are slipping away with those who matter most. The fact is I CAN go through life without my phone glued to my hand – we all did so not that long ago.
Now yes, I will likely have my camera nearby still, ready to snap a picture of us together or capturing a beautiful moment. I love reflecting back on these memories, it’s me. But I need to remember to tell you what I am doing and wait for an appropriate time before I distractedly walk towards a cool looking flower on a bush. (Wahhh, I really am that person.)
Keep me accountable okay? Recognize how humbling it is to realize how bad I am about this so please don’t call me out in a way that makes me feel worse about it. A subtle ‘hey’ will bring me back to the moment. You ARE important to me and I want to live a life where I am all there, in every moment.
So here’s to putting my phone down and giving it my best to be all there.
See you guys tomorrow for Friday Favorites and lots of funnies! :) XOXO!