Pay Attention

As a Mom, I feel like I’m always saying “pay attention!” With two toddlers who were born into a family that I swear is genetically predisposed to always knock things over, trip, whack our heads/elbows/knees on anything we walk by and just generally prove to the world that we fully comprehend what “klutz” means, “pay attention” is one of my go-to phrases.

I was thinking about this a lot over this past weekend, in particular. In addition to the normal reminders to pay attention as my almost 2-year old tried to step off a stool that was much higher than he realized and my 3-year old marched confidently into a parking lot without looking both ways, there were a few other moments. In fact, a few big things happened and honestly? None of it was a surprise.

I admit that I had a hard time wrapping my head around how such big news could have such little impact on me. Why didn’t I feel more upset? More hurt? More angry? More frustrated? More stressed?

That’s when I realized: it’s because I’m paying attention.

My 3-year old’s tantrums and selective hearing? It’s a developmental leap.

My husband’s grumpy behavior? He’s overtired as he approaches the end of his most recent busy season.

Another issue with the house? That’s just what comes with home ownership.

Gaining greater awareness is more than being aware of what you’re thinking and feeling. It’s about being both self- and world- aware, of watching and paying attention to what’s happening around you. It’s about being aware of what’s happening in yourself and in others. It’s being cognizant of changes.

When you learn how to be aware, you open yourself to getting more information about any situation. With greater information, you create the ability to use that information to make wiser, more intentional decisions. You create the ability to respond instead of react. The same stuff still happens, but now you are different and calmer when it happens.

So when you learn to stop and notice, then choose your response with intention, fewer things can rattle you and, as a result, you improve your responses.

Take Action
We often encourage our clients to start their self-discovery work by learning how to tune in to themselves. Once they’ve achieved this step, we move on to world-awareness, of paying attention to what’s happening around us. Take 10 minutes today to just observe. Observe you: your feelings, thoughts and actions. Observe your world: what is going on around you. Then take a moment to ask yourself, how can you bring your best to the situations, events and people in your world?

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Unhinged – How Do You Act When Things Don’t Go Your Way?

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