Are we really present to others?

By Frank Chiment, 6 July 2022
Image: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash.


In a society of constant change and competing priorities, it may be justifiably challenging to pause and give our undivided attention to a task or person. Regular distractions such as phone calls, emails, text messages, social media and out-of-hours work-related interruptions are just some examples. Various studies across the globe have indicated that mobile phone use has catapulted over recent years, especially with the increasing sophistication and use of smartphones.

Frank Chiment, Principal Leader at Patrician Brothers’ College, Blacktown. Image: Supplied

For clarity, being present to others – family, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues etc. – implicitly means that we’re focused on the here and now, without distraction or being absent-minded.

The danger with not awakening our self-awareness about possible distractions is that our brains can identify them as the norm, which may influence a future thirst for even more distractions moving forward into the future.

Being present to others is important. In particular, this is even more pertinent when thinking about our family members. Pausing and giving individuals time – no matter who they may be in our lives – allows our relationships to flourish and communicates to others that we value them.

How can we be more present? It is really simple. It could involve active listening, having an awareness of your surroundings, and authentically connecting with people around you.

Some practical strategies that could be employed to support a person being more present to others include:

  • Increase self-awareness – Taking the time to stop and conduct a personal self-audit during the day.
  • Reduce distractions – This may involve switching off devices, moving devices to another room, or moving to another space.
  • Use a buddy – Organise for a family member or friend to remind you if you’re being distracted from something or someone. Thank them afterwards.

Everyone can get distracted in our daily lives. This is not unusual. However, every day, every week, and every year has meaning and should be valued. Making the most of each moment may be challenging, but the potential rewards will likely be much prized and remembered.

Frank Chiment is the Principal Leader at Patrician Brothers’ College, Blacktown.


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