Pay Close Attention

When was the last time you took a good look at any of your family member’s faces?

When it comes to paying close attention most times, it’s more functional than structural.

Structural is where you need to be in close contact with somebody or be in a particular place to observe and relate with them. Whereas functional is being there, not in person, but in other ways that suffice such as phone calls, emails, and other instant messaging or other social networking platforms.

When we mention the word attention, many questions crop up. One of the most essentials being when was the last time you paid attention to something? To the way you feel, how you act, how you react, how you talk, and your listening styles?

When was the last time you paid close attention even to the faces of your loved ones, family members, spouse, to observe how they look, talk, or behave?

I bet sparingly so.

We’re in a world where it’s hard to pay attention to the closest people and things surrounding us. We’re told not to indulge others too much. Not to care about what others say or do. We’re told not to mind the next person and do whatever pleases us however they do.

We’ve been constantly told ‘’not to have time to check the time’’ even it means asking our neighbor for the time to save time. Today we’re caught up in a frenzied world which has taught us not to care even when we need to.

We’ve tied ourselves up in our own world so much that we don’t pay attention to the things that truly matter — such as our lives, our personal growth, our family’s, our friends, our pets, our hobbies, our purpose.

We avoid eye contact because it makes us fearful of what the other person might see. We hide from being revealed perhaps to avoid being judged harshly. We’re constantly on a ride. A never-ending cycle of us with us around us for us. Never with other things.

So when is the time to pay attention? Time to pause, see, and to listen.

When is the time to check in on a colleague, a friend, an acquaintance who ‘somehow’ happens to be on your contact list?

The time to pay attention means that if we don’t, we might miss what’s for us and in front of us.

Since it’s a general syndrome, I suppose the best time to pay attention is NOW. When we still have the capability of doing so. Now we’re suffering a full-blown pandemic. Now when we seem the slightest attentive enough.

How do we pay close attention? How do we become more attentive?

By learning how to pause and listen. Because when we listen, not hearing, we’re bound to understand things with deeper meanings and acquire new knowledge about something we thought we knew. You may have over one hundred discussions with your sister over the same topic and not understand a thing she said. But the one time you choose to attentively listen might be the time you grasp all she was trying to say all along— inferring that maybe that she loves you, that she cares, she’s sick and tired, or on the precipice of giving up.

There is great wisdom in listening and paying attention. Because when we hear, we hear, but when we listen, we learn.

Attentiveness requires that we get in touch with our minds from time to time to interpret the words which we hear and endeavor to make sense of them.

At the same time, it can be either structural or functional.

Paying close attention will prevent us from derailing, being on autopilot. Which in-turn will enable us to be there for the people and things we care most about. And hence, allow us to grow and develop in that capacity and in other areas too.

Learn to pay close attention to the things around you such as the faces you encounter and the words you hear. It might sound flimsy and ridiculous but a trial and mastery afterward always add to the pros of the growth and development sectors of our lives.

Who knows; you might get to find out something from a stranger about you that you never knew of. You might be the savior who discovers someone in dire need and renders solid help mainly in this trying time. You might be the one who needs to solicit for the help.

One phone call, one message, a listening ear, one shout out, could save a life.

Don’t wait until you’re close enough to pay the people in your life close attention. There are many ways to reach out everywhere and be reached. Choose to use them and do so wisely.