Valentine’s Day is an odd day. A special day to show you love someone? Surely every day should be thus! We do not love our partner any more on Valentine’s, so why would it be necessary to show them that love more than usual? It is possible that in your hectic life you aren’t spending enough time showing that love? If it is then it is understandable. We are all often very busy. We take things for granted. That is why Valentine’s Day is so important – to remind those that we love that we do love them. And I have an idea of the perfect gift for them: your attention.
It is possible you are now sitting or standing there thinking to yourself, “What? Of course, I will give my attention to my significant other on Valentine’s!”
But when I say give your attention to your partner I mean you do so fully. Do not let your mind wander, and do not interrupt. Pay attention to both the verbal and non-verbal cues you might be able to pick up on. Envelop yourself in their happiness, and their sadness. Just because it is Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean all of their problems disperse after all!
Working through any issues that your partner might have, in their relationship with you or elsewhere, is a powerful act on Valentine’s Day and one that is also deeply meaningful.
Making sure you understand what your partner is saying is an important part of paying attention, and my recent post on active listening is exactly what you need to make sure you have the tools at your disposal for this.
This deep connection which comes about from paying full attention is incredibly satisfying for both you and your partner. It is, of course, difficult to concentrate on paying full attention for an entire day! Your mind will naturally grow weary. Instead, try to focus on the times when the two of you are more intimate, such as at dinner or whilst walking. Be flexible as well – if your partner turns the topic towards a deep conversation then switch on your full attention to truly attune to what they are trying to tell you or say.
You might have already thought it, but paying close attention to someone is not something that should be restricted to Valentine’s Day, or even your significant other. Indeed, one should try to give the gift of attention to all of those important people in their life. By doing so, your relationships will improve and people will genuinely like you more just for paying attention!
Along with the techniques described in the active listening post, you also need to consider some other things when giving your undivided attention to another:
- Make sure you clarify to yourself, in your head, that you will spend the next x amount of minutes focusing solely on the other person.
- Remember to maintain eye contact, and if necessary, hold their hand whilst they speak.
- If your mind starts to wander, notice that is has done so and bring your focus back to the person in front of you. Mindfulness can help you with this, and actually doing this is a form of mindfulness too!
- Do not interrupt, do not criticise, and do not blame the other person. You want to be supportive, not antagonistic.
I hope you will be able to take these ideas forward and give the gift of attention to your partner this Valentine’s Day. Even if you do not currently have a partner, it would be a lovely act to find another person you care for and pay attention to them!