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.*