Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. Would you agree?
I have heard it said time and time again that one of the commonalities found in all humans is that they have a desire to be seen and heard.
A validation that they exist. That they matter.
They want somebody to listen. Not in that halfway present way in which so many interact. But in a fully attentive way of listening.
They want to know that somebody looked into their eyes and saw their soul.
We all need to feel as though we belong. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, belongingness comes after physiological needs (food, shelter…) and safety needs (personal, emotional, and financial security…).
Humans need love. And one of the ways that we can show them love is by being generous with our attention.
In this world of hustle and bustle, how often do we stop and give a person our full attention? To be fully present in that moment of interaction?
As the world has taken its great pause, have you noticed more time to offer someone your full attention?
Have you taken advantage of that time?
I always check out the author of a quote before I share (to be sure I’m not quoting an axe murderer who just happened to say something profound). I was not familiar with Simone Weil. According to Encylopedia Britannica, she was a French mystic, social philosopher, and activist in the French Resistance during World War II. The quote I’ve shared was one that I’d written down in my journal. In looking her up, I found a few more that really struck me since they pertain to this same concept.
To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.
The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?’
Loneliness, anxiety, and depression can creep slowly or pounce rapidly.
As many of you are aware, anxiety is a part of my life. Meditation and breathing techniques help me stay in balance.
The National Alliance on Mental Health’s (NAMI) current campaign is “You Are Not Alone.” We should always be endeavoring to #breakthestigma around mental health and the current world condition of isolating at home is taxing on most people’s mental health. Even prior to this pandemic, there have been articles written about the risks of social isolation. This article on the American Psychological Association’s website shares from a study that there is evidence linking perceived social isolation with adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function, and impaired immunity at every stage of life.
Even in this time of “physical isolation” we don’t have to “socially isolate”. Reach out to friends and family. Join a group online. Chat in the comments. Pick up the phone. Send that text.
Ask people if they’re okay…and listen to their response.
We are all neighbors on this earth.
And so I ask, “what are you going through?”
You have my attention.
Let your light shine!
*If you are in crisis, please seek help. In the United States you can reach the NAMI helpline at 800-950-NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741. The Suicide Prevention Helpline is 800-273-8255. These are just a few of the available resources as well as your local doctor or hospital.*
21 thoughts on “Tuesday Truth #59”
We see our neighbors quite a bit as we’re outside a lot and so are they, and I’m hiking or walking to mailbox with a few of them. So, far we’re doing okay. I hope you are too! 😀
It’s nice that you are able to see your neighbors. When it isn’t raining we take a walk at the local park and see some regulars and wave at each other. I’ve had little face-to-face conversation outside of my home. I’m looking forward to a day when I can get together with my girlfriends!! My hairdresser was able to open last Friday and so that was a nice break (my roots were getting cray-zy!), even though it felt strange that we were wearing masks and gloves. I’m glad to hear that you all are doing okay, Deborah! We are as well! 🙂
I give the gift of attention freely, more so lately even. I agree, with so many of us communicating primarily through the written word or on a screen, by paying attention and listening we show respect and support for our friends and family. Would that more people understood this.
It would be nice if more people understood this. I do think that there are quite a few people who are beginning to understand it during this forced pause. I’m sure those who receive the gift of your attention are very grateful, Ally. I know that I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Thank you. 🙂
Thank you. I’m blushing here…
such a good post – good reminders and attention is everything
Thank you! Attention is such a simple thing and yet can be that life-changing spark in someone’s life. 🙂
Well said 🌸😊
Why is it some of the people who need help most, do not seek it? I’ll never understand. I’ve been trying to be more present with everyone who comes my way. Human connection is so important right now, now matter how small the gesture. Cheers friend!
I think sometimes there are complicated reasons as to why they don’t seek help, but I think removing the stigma would go a long way towards many more people being willing to find help. Human connection is so important and yes, those small gestures can mean the world. Cheers to you too, my friend!! xx
Agreed on the stigma….you can’t lead a horse to water (that is a saying right?). Hope ya had a good Memorial Day weekend.
Something like that…I’ve always heard “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. It applies to this conversation for sure. We had a nice Memorial Day weekend. I hope that you did too!!
Ha ha! I get the quotes wrong EVERY time! We had a great weekend 🙂
A beautiful post Amy and I love all of the quotes you’ve shared. Now, more than ever before, is the time to reach out and connect to each other and our neighbours. Yes, we all need to be heard and know that we matter. I’m finding this sense of connection and kinship even in the people I pass (at a distance) on my walks. There are always smiles, eye contact and often kind words. It doesn’t take much. Stay well lovely lady. xx
Thank you, Miriam! Smiles, eye contact, and kind words make a huge difference!! I’ve seen comments about how people can’t see smiles behind the masks and I disagree. Your eyes can smile too! Stay well, my friend! xx
Oh yes, they really can. I agree with you Amy. Have a great week ahead my friend. xx
You too!! xx
What a beautiful post darling Incredible quote too I am loving the isolation why? Because I used to have anxiety when around too many people I am slowly getting better but I do enjoy my time alone I love it to be honest so to me it is being great. However, I do understand how hard it can be if someone is social and love be surrounded by people all the time. And you are right we say How are you? and many do not even answer because they know many people do not really care. We should change and this expression should change to really how are you? Are you okay? xoxo Cris
Thank you! I understand about anxiety around too many people. I relish my downtime and require periods of solitude. Luckily, my family knows this about me and respect my much needed space (most of the time). I think it must be very hard for those that are very social. I prefer reading and daydreaming so this time has opened up more space for that. Hopefully this great pause will open up space for new dialogues where we are truly present and vested in listening to how someone feels.
Lovely and insightful post, Amy! To me, one of the greatest benefits of being introverted is the tendency to be able to truly “hear” what those around us are saying- or what they are not saying. To be aware and in-tune with others to the point where we feel their feelings and the deeper meaning of their words in a way that they feel that they are being properly heard and acknowledged is one of the most heartfelt gifts we can offer. <3
Thank you, Angelica. I do think introverts quite often spend more time listening…to both what is said and what is not said. I hope you are doing well!! xx