Why It’s Important to be Present in Your Relationships

Why It’s Important to be Present in Your Relationships

MAUDE: Phil and I were recently reading a personal piece by a favorite author of ours and were struck by the emphasis on the negative events in her life, all of which were in the past. This piece was published on social media and there were many responses, all identifying with what she had written and all sharing some difficult experiences in their past. What’s that old expression? Misery loves company.

This started me thinking about how this kind of attitude can negatively impact a relationship and in discussing it with Phil, I came full circle around to how important it is to be present in relationships and how important it is to be in the present.

When you are in the present with another person, it is a palpable experience. You can strongly feel when someone is actually there with you, just as you can feel when they are not. The sense that two people are connecting is what differentiates strong viable relationships with those that are just going through the motions.

When someone is with you, but is really busy with what they are going to say when you finish talking, or thinking of where they have to be next, or worrying about how they are going to handle another situation in their lives, then they are not relating to or with you; you are both there, but if one of you is not present, you are both alone.

To show how much you appreciate and cherish your relationship, you have to share your inner life with the other person. Whether you are sharing thoughts or feelings, recounting happenings, or musing on the world in general, you must be present and open to the other person if that magic of connection is to be real and stay real for both of you.

If you want to imbibe of the wonder of another personality, of love and friendship, and the connection between you and another, you need to bring yourself to the party. This kind of togetherness can only arise in a climate of openness and trust. When you feel that someone is paying attention, that they are truly present with you, it supports the sense that you are seen and heard. It makes you feel acknowledged and appreciated.

That is the kind of interaction that engenders the openness and trust present in deep and meaningful relationships. These are the relationships where the practice of peace is possible.Share your inner life with another person for the best possible relationship #quote #relationship Share on X

PHIL: Let me comment on why being present is really important: thoughts are not reality. Our thoughts are like some little computer that sits up there and looks at what has happened and guesses at what will happen. We call this the past and the future.

But the past and the future are not real in the same way that the present is real. I know that the past just seems like a variant of the present. It feels like it’s in a room right next door to the one you’re in, and even though you can’t visit it, it must be just as real as the room you are presently in, the one that has coffee or a toothache or whatever else is going on right now.

Yes, of course the past affected you; it has made you who you are today, whether foolhardy or timid or angry, and you bring all that into your life and your relationships. It is like a filter over your vision, and the way to clean the view is to look very carefully at what is actually there; to be present.

I’ve said this before: a relationship primarily exists in the present. Yes, you have a past together, and yes, you may share future plans, but look at the language: you have a relationship, not had or will have. Our language plants it firmly in the present. And that means that there is an experience of having a relationship.

Most of the time, we’re in our head, we’re thinking with words, and that’s OK; it’s part of who we are. Much of a relationship is the pleasure of sharing ideas, thoughts, dreams, opinions. But remember: thoughts are not reality, and those words can obscure that direct experience of another person. Look carefully for what it is like to be in their presence. Step past the language and drink in that sweet nectar of contact, that magic of feeling connected to other people.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes
Photo note: Two friends connecting

Read what some other writers have to say on this topic.

Get our free weekly newsletter about how to have a harmonious relationship.

* indicates required


Tell your friends!

3 Comments on “Why It’s Important to be Present in Your Relationships

  1. Thank you for these insights. I love what you said about the magic of connection. Active listening is like meditation. It settles the mind into being comfortable with what’s happening and that opens the door for God to work.

  2. Today I was speaking about the flower essence of Honeysuckle. It is a homeopathic type medicine for people who dwell in the past. They engage in telling stories about their history, often with sadness entwined, longing for or attachment to that which was.
    The healing quality is just what you are speaking of, being in the present! Here and Now;
    Delving into our depth, connecting to that place in another. Sharing feelings, understandings and wisdom…that juicy stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *