Up to now we have been talking about mindfulness referred to its self-reflexive form, i.e. projected towards us and our inner world. Like being present when we do things in our daily lives, from meditation to the tasks we undertake.
We have not mentioned being mindful of other people. It therefore seems right to us to go into this aspect in greater depth.
Living consciously means being present when talking to other people, listening and paying attention. A sign of good manners that should not require effort. But is this really the case? It is fair to say that unfortunately it is not, fully immersed as we are in our own thoughts and problems.
We spend 95% of our time thinking about ourselves!
Let's do a test.
Observe in the next few days how much real attention you pay to the people around you at home but especially at work or in extra work activities, and note the time you dedicate to them. It doesn't matter what is your job role.
You will notice that on many occasions, your mind will be distracted!
So make it your personal priority to change this attitude.
It is easier to be present among friends than with colleagues from work or strangers. So it is to them that you must therefore devote more attention.
Being aware of other people means to respect their sensitivity and therefore avoid making criticisms, jokes or gratuitous negative comments. It is not necessary to comment on everything or underline mistakes.
We are all able to exonerate ourselves in case of mistakes but rarely we reserve the same treatment towards others. We are ready to condemn without second thoughts. Recriminating and reproaching too often, unpleasant episodes happened in the past. On the other hand, well done things go unnoticed without ever being appreciated. And these things can be an occasional project or an habitual task, like that of a family member preparing a good dinner for us.
To change this behaviour, besides being present, be generous with compliments. Not to be confused with flattery, which is dictated by interest and is therefore not genuine. At work try to sincerely appreciate someone for the effort made, even if only for a simple task and even if it is part of the job.
Before making a comment, ask yourself: is this really necessary?
Before giving a feedback, ask yourself: how can I provide a feedback without hurting feelings?
In addition to the gesture, this behaviour will improve your relationships with colleagues, friends and family. And it will have a greater benefit on your and others' performance because it increases self-esteem. We all love to be appreciated whether we admit it or not. It makes us proud. It makes us important. It makes us alive. It has been proven that offending does not end in positive results, because it does not lead to change.
This approach means revolutionizing much of our behaviour. But this is what mindfulness stands for in real world.
Be mindful. Be respectful.
✒ BY MARGHERITA ANTINORI