Being physically present is only ONE aspect of showing up, being fully present takes a whole lot more.
This quote by Woody Allen is one of my favorites. I think it is a key to relationship success.
There are a variety of ways to show up. Let’s take your son’s basketball game as an example.
(By the way, if you don’t show up, you may hear about your son’s spectacular 3-point basket afterward, but you didn’t participate. Likewise you might hear how he wasn’t paying attention and the ball hit him in the head…)
Notice how the following 9 aspects of showing up describe a toddler’s behavior:
1 Do you like to pretend you are Casper the ghost?
Try becoming more trustworthy. Saying you’ll show up and then not doing so implies you can’t be counted on. Casper, though entertaining on TV, tends to be disappointing.
2 Are you tricky to catch?
Try being physically present. When you show up in person, you are part of the scene. There is nothing like being there in the moment so your family, your son’s teammates, other fans and the coach can interact with you.
3 Is your mind full of adventure?
Try paying attention to the now. Sitting and watching your kid’s basketball game is good. Discovering your mind is elsewhere (thinking about where you’d like to go for vacation for example) falls short of the goal.
4 Are you acting like a rock?
Try being a role model of support. Butt in seat and eyes on the ball are a good start. Try cheering for your son so he knows you’re there for him.
5 Do you have tantrums?
Try being peaceful and centered. Getting caught up in a referee’s questionable call and allowing emotions like sadness, anger or frustration to take over tend to fall short of a strong role model.
6 Do you think the world revolves around you?
Try letting someone else take the limelight. Insisting on going to a restaurant of your choosing will only take away from your child’s feeling like this is his special day.
7 Do you get bored easily?
Try focusing on the experience of others. Taking a phone call or chatting with a friend while halfheartedly watching your child play indicates that you really aren’t that interested in their performance. It signals to your child that you do not consider it important if you miss some of the action. This should be all about them.
8 Do you have trouble sharing?
Try being a team player. Feeling a need to talk over your kid’s conversation doesn’t give him a feeling that what he has to say to you is important. Learning to share the “stage” means you respect when others want to speak.
9 Are you unaware of others’ feelings?
Try showing appreciation to others. Suggesting your child wasn’t trying his best will make him feel criticized and undermine his pleasure at having you share this experience. Instead let him know you are proud of him.
These nine characteristics describe the best way to show up in any relationship (note: acting like a toddler when you’re an adult often won’t cut it). For success in life, it will help to be:
How do you typically “SHOW UP” in life?
Photo: Flickr/uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs