Get out of your head.
I recently received an email from a fan who didn’t understand a sentence I use a few times in my books: “He gave her everything.” It took me a minute to realize not everyone understands this concept, which comes down to being one hundred percent present with someone in any given moment. Believe it or not, very few people understand how to do this. Take a second now to look at how you interact with everyone, how you exist in a room with someone, and ask yourself, are you giving that person everything?
If you’re still unclear, think about times when you’re with your kids, your spouse, your friends, your family. Maybe you’re having dinner or visiting, and someone is talking about something, and you find your mind drifting off, thinking about what you’re going to say next, or maybe about what appointments you have coming up, or about the mile-long to-do list you haven’t accomplished. You might be worrying about whether you have enough money in your bank account to pay for something, or maybe about the fight you had with your kids or your spouse that morning. These are just a few examples.
Giving everything means that when you’re with someone, you’re there not just in body but in spirit. You give that person everything of yourself and listen to everything he or she is saying to you. You’re not rehearsing what you want to say in response or sitting with your cell phone on the table so that the moment it dings, you can land on it and respond to a text in the middle of your conversation.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been with someone whose cell phone was right there on the table or beside them, or maybe still in their hand. That tells you everything: You come second, and that cell phone comes first. I can tell you that every time I’m with someone, my cell phone is put away. If someone texts or calls, I’m not answering. I’m not even glancing down to see who it is. If I haven’t turned off my ringer when I’m with someone, I take the incoming text or call as an opportunity to do so. How many times have you been visiting with a friend or sitting with your spouse only for them to stare at their cell phone and notifications? If they’re doing that, do you really think they’re giving everything to you?
Here is another scenario. Have you ever visited family or friends who kept the TV on, running in the background for noise or something, so they could keep pulling their attention from you to the TV and back? When this happens, you know they’re not really listening or participating in a conversation with you. Can you really have a conversation with all that background distraction? Or is it that some people are so uncomfortable with themselves or another person that they need distraction and noise? Our TV is never on when someone comes over. As a matter of fact, it’s never on during the day, no matter what.
How many of you have seen that couple out together, sitting in a restaurant, not talking but instead looking around or staring at their cell phones? Cell phones are a great form of communication, but nothing can replace giving everything to the person you’re with—hearing them, seeing them, and really, really listening to them.
Ask yourself how you feel when someone is giving you everything of themselves, and when they’re not. I don’t know about you, but it makes me really uncomfortable being with someone, whether family, friend, or acquaintance, who isn’t really one hundred percent engaged with me and our conversation and isn’t giving me everything I’m giving them.
Then there are the kids. For me, this has happened only one time at a community function, when I was speaking with a neighbor and one of my kids came over and interrupted us (in a really annoying way) in the middle of the conversation with a question about having something or doing something. It was nothing urgent, but do you know what that neighbor did? She got up and walked away. Yeah, I had a sit-down with my kids after that and told them that if I’m having a conversation with someone, they’re not to interrupt me unless there’s an emergency. Beyond it being extremely rude, I can’t blame that neighbor for getting up and walking away. That was a long time ago, and I remember that incident every time I’m with someone whose kids do exactly the same thing.
August 5, 2020