I Want to Be Present, But …

II know that many of you want to be and live more present, and it’s a terrific goal. However, the reality is that there are many obstacles to being present in each moment, and we must face these obstacles head on if we are going to have any hope of achieving greater presence. While there are many obstacles to presence, here’s one of the biggest – our own selfishness.

Yes, selfishness. I’m guessing that many of you will reject this notion as not true about you, but I hope you will hang with me and be open to seeing the ways that our selfishness gets in the way of our presence. First, let’s be clear what it means to be selfish – most fundamentally, it’s simply whenever your focus is on yourself. I am not saying that this is always a bad thing, but it can be an obstacle to presence. 

Here are a number of examples of ways that we are selfish or overly self-focused that prevent us from being present:

  • Sitting with someone in public and keeping your eye on who else is there so that you can say hello to themis about you.
  • Seemingly listening to someone talk while actually working on what you will say in responseis about you.
  • Keeping your eyes and ears open for the next text or email on your phoneis about you.
  • Talking over someoneis about you.
  • Inserting yourself into someone else’s story (e.g. someone tells you a story about them and you have to tell them about your “similar” story)is about you.
  • Monopolizing a conversationis about you.
  • Telling people what to dois about you.
  • Talking fast and not pausingis about you.
  • Wondering what people think about you or what you say is about you.
  • Convincing yourself that you can multi-task and that multi-tasking is more productive (when all the research says otherwise) is about you.

Okay, enough … I will stop there. Hopefully you get the point. Here is a simple way to rephrase this concept – if you want to be present for others, you have to make everything about others. Unless and until you are willing to get yourself and your wants out of the way, you will not be able to give (and receive) the fulness of this most amazing gift of presence.

Are you ready to be more present? Then get out of the way!

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