Attention (and paying it)

April 5th, 2016 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »


Have you been Paying Attention?


Sometimes the message comes from every angle- from articles, from friends, from speakers, from books. Everywhere you turn it’s “THERE”. Well, this week that has happened to me, and the message has been: pay attention. So, I am trying to pay attention — to myself, to others, and to my surroundings.


The why

The reason you should pay attention is that you see more, you are more aware of things than if you get “caught up in yourself, and your everyday life”. Some people like to call this concentration mindfulness, others call this kind of paying attention a variety of things. But it really doesn’t matter what you call it. It matters that you do it. There are even people who will tell you that business people who do this activity are more successful.


For me, this attention has to do with integrating my whole self. We were not meant to compartmentalize ourselves and this activity helps us to integrate our persons, and to help us make wise decisions.


Attention to ourselves

First, we need to pay attention to our own selves and our feelings; I especially need to pay attention to my feelings. Some people know immediately what they are feeling but some of us think a lot more, and so we need to pay more attention to our feelings. Some of us need vocabulary for their feelings, here is a pin I have on my Pintrest board that may help with the vocabulary of feelings:


Attention to others

Second, there are the others around us who we can pay attention to—for me, that means suspending judgment, and really listening, not prejudging people “so and so always does/is…” It is so important for me to do this. I am working on this and it is not easy! I have (still) been reading Brené Brown and, as she writes in Daring Greatly, that people are doing the best they can. I believe people deserve my full attention, when I am paying attention. Judgment demeans and gets in the way of real communication so I must stop myself and give people the benefit of the doubt.


Attention to my surroundings

My surroundings is the third area to pay attention to. I love this part- I am able to pay attention with all my senses to what is around me: the beauty of creation, the food that is being cooked, the sounds of birds in the morning, the smell of freshly dried clothing off the clothesline, the feel of my dog’s soft muzzle. I could go on. This kind of attention often leads to gratitude, which is also a very good thing.


The take-away

So, what are you going to pay attention to now, today, this week? How would you like to see your attention giving practices change? You know, paying attention will make you more successful, and a more grateful person.


Happy attention paying!


Patricia Jehle


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