How To Improve Your Relationship: Pay Attention

First, I need to thank you and this community for the love, support and cheers during this special time with my baby girl, Kwynn. I am officially back “online” in a more regular manner, while of course continuing to get lots of regular daily snuggles with my girl.

Over the coming weeks, I have so much to share with you, from musings about life/motherhood, to introducing you to some of my favorite people who are going to rock your world with life-changing information.

I will also start sharing tidbits from my forthcoming book, Mantras In Motion: Manifesting What You Want Through Mindful Movement (the official title!) due out in January 2019!

But today, I want to talk about how to improve your relationship, to anything…

by paying attention.

Several weeks into my maternity leave, it occurred to me that I was spending the entire day with a human who speaks no words at all.

And yet, I seem to understand everything she expressed throughout the day.

Whether she is tired, hungry, gassy, happy or uncomfortable, I have come to know her every cue.

Of course, there are a limited number of things she is trying to tell me, but the fact that at the end of the day, no words have been spoken and I still feel like we have communicated a million things, amazes me.

I am enamored with my baby girl, which causes me to pay very close attention and observe her through the eyes of love.

Recently, I saw the Academy Award winning film, Lady Bird.

In one part of the film (don’t worry, not a spoiler!) the main character, a teenage girl, is talking to the school nun.

The nun says, “You write about our town with such vivid and specific detail. You must really love it here.”

And she responds, “I don’t know that I love it, I just pay attention.”

And the nun says, “Isn’t paying attention a great form of love?”

This line has stuck with me ever since.

Paying attention is a beautiful form of love.

You see, I pay attention to my little girl all day so I can best meet her needs. And of course, the more I learn her every look, sound, and wiggle, the more I love her.

And it just has me thinking, when someone pays attention to your needs and desires and responds accordingly, doesn’t that make you feel loved?

When you are paying attention intently to something, whether it is your work, your body, your relationship, your children, don’t you feel more love towards those things?

So my questions for you (and me) is what DO you pay attention to?

Is there something you need to pay more attention to?

And what does paying attention look like to you?

For example, with my husband it can look like listening intently to him describing his day.
Sometimes it means bringing him tea before he asks for it.
Sometimes it means sending him an article I have come across that relates to his business.
Sometimes it means sending him a silly sports meme that I know will make him laugh.

Paying attention doesn’t have to be expensive or require much time.

It simply requires us to sit back a little and observe with loving eyes and ears.

It means we don’t react immediately to every little thing.

But rather, we take in the world with curiosity and non judgement.

Perhaps you can bring this idea into your day with your career, your beautiful body or the people in your life.

Now, it’s your turn.

Leave a comment below and tell me what YOU pay close attention to that feels very much like love to you. I would love to hear about it.

I’ll be paying attention;)

Love, Erin

P.S. I am getting more active again on Instagram. I love the interactions I have with folks in the daily stories. Feel free to join me HERE for some live action:)

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19 Responses to How To Improve Your Relationship: Pay Attention

  1. Katy Rugg says:

    I have recently begun a new job as a (for real!) ‘Butterfly Curator’ at a well-respected Botanical Garden. It is amazing to work with the butterflies (and my knowledgeable coworkers) all day long. I have been learning a lot about transformation, timing, and keeping it ‘light’ by really paying attention and helping them to have a good life in our exhibit. Did you know that they have a lot of work to do right away when they emerge from the chrysalis? They have to get right to it, and if not, their big beautiful wings might not form properly, and they may never fly with them…seems like good life advice, right? Transformation is all very good, but don’t forget to ‘strike while the iron is hot’ and make the most of that opportunity life brings us! We only have so much time to use the ‘wings’ that we are given on our journey. 🙂 That is just one tidbit that has been impressed upon me. No doubt there will be many more! -Katy.

  2. Mary says:

    I love this!!! Yes, paying attention is focus, and key to being in the present. I am a painter and can focus on a painting for hours with love (or disdain!!!) I can focus on my husband when he speaks, and wait until he is finished without interrupting (as has become a “norm” in today’s society!) I can focus on my dogs – their eyes say so much and the tone of their bark varies depending on what they are trying to communicate.
    Paying attention is the ultimate compliment to any creature, part of nature or endeavor, and if the energy being communicated is love, it will almost always go well!!!

  3. Roberta White says:

    Lovely writing and so true! So many ways to show love by paying attention. Loved that scene in Lady Bird.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I pay attention when one of your mails is in my box. I pay attention when something interest me or touches my heart.
    I pay attention to my inner circle and my beautiful pugs every desire😂😂

  5. Robin says:

    This was so beautiful Erin. I think I have been feeling like something is missing in my marriage lately because i am craving more attention, and my partner is preoccupied much of the time. I have decided recently to make a choice to appreciate what he IS capable of, and focus on that. You post made me realize that I need to pay more attention to myself and my inner cues, and filling myself up from within, and pay a little less attention to so much around me. The Love needs to start within and spill over, not the other way around.
    Blessings to you and your beautiful little bundle! Thank you for the insight and inspiration. xoxo

    • Kathy says:

      Oh this hit me hard. I pay attention to everyones needs. I make sure my family has what they need each day. It is having that reciprocated that is where my hurt comes in. It is one thing to pay attention to your own needs versus someone doing it without asking.

  6. karol says:

    Erin, As I read of your gratitude, amazement, and love toward your sweet, new daughter, it immediately puts me in a state of gratitude and love. When my children were infants I could just not get enough of them; I loved touching and smelling and watching, and holding them–they were my orbit. I thank you for your writings during your post natal time because they put me in a state of grace invoking such lovely remembrances of awe with unconditional love; a special love that I had never experienced before and which my words fail to adequately communicate. I know you are so enjoying this time in your life and I wish you all the love in the world (and beyond).

  7. Anna-Karin says:

    So true!
    Just wanted to say that what You write always makes me smile and leaves me happpier. Thank You! 🙂

  8. Cara says:

    Yes! I loved this so much. My daughter was sick last night and as I sat on the bathroom floor with her and rubbed her back, I thought a lot about our non-verbal communication and connection – and she’s 7 now! I also think that sometimes with my husband I withhold attention as a form of non-verbal punishment, which is definitely unfair.
    Who and what we do and do not give our attention to days so much about us.

  9. Melanie Parsons says:

    Thanks for the great reminder! I try to give my kids specific attention every day, today I want to add sending my husband a special text and have a nice drink ready for him when he gets home.

  10. Yes, it’s all about focus and presence! I’ve challenged myself over the years to really look someone in the eye when they’re talking with me. I used to be multi-tasking and thinking about what was next on my schedule. Now, I honor whomever I’m with with my full focus and it feels so much better and loving.

  11. Emily says:

    This is synchronistic timing! I’ve been feeling out of sorts and I was just thinking I need to get back to simple basics to reset! And I think it all comes back to paying attention to the wrong things… beautiful reminder. THANK YOU!

  12. Ayako says:

    Thank you very much, Erin, for the great article! I don’t normally comment on blogs, but I am so touched by what you say that I felt the urge to express what I feel about it (and I listened to my inner voice!). It helped me articulate what I’m doing with my son, 13 years old can be rebellious teen. I struggled with him for the past couple of years, but recently have changed the way I relate to him. I listen, observe, and accept as who he is instead of expecting him to be someone else. Then, our relationship has changed. Now it’s calmer and more relaxed. He is more open and spends more time with me. What I have been doing is “paying attention” – listen what he has to say without interruption or judgement, ask questions to understand what he is going through, and whenever he sits close to me or gives me a hug, I really embrace the moment. It all comes down to “paying attention.” It is good to be reminded that it is “a great form of love.” Thank you, Erin, for sharing such a great insight!Love xoxo

    • erin says:

      I love how you are using thus in parenting your teenager. And the fact that it has changed your relationship really inspires me + encourages me to continue to do the same with my daughter. Thank you for sharing this and taking the time to comment. Xo

    • Pamela Joy Marshall says:

      Ayako, I like hearing what has happened between you and your son. It sounds a lot like changes I made (or tried to, anyway) after reading the ” How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, And Listen So Kids Will Talk” books I read a few years ago. Made me stop and think before I speak, and focus more on the interaction and communication than what the outcome would be. Lo and behold, it often changed the outcome for the better. Wish I had found them, sooner, but we start where we are, right? If you have not read these (one for kids and one for teens, basically the same, but with different examples and anecdotes, of course), you might really benefit from them. Meanwhile, it sounds as if you are doing pretty great w/ or w/o them. Keep on keepin’ on!

  13. Pamela Joy Marshall says:

    Hi Erin! So glad you are having such a wonderful time with Kwynne! As I read this, my daughter is about to turn 17 (what??? She was just a baby, toddler, little kid, pre-teen a minute ago!). I feel like I have done a pretty good job of paying attention to details, all along the way. Not everything, of course, but quite a bit. And I still keep a journal for her (are you keeping the Kwynne journal that I encouraged you do keep? Hope so!). You are right, it keeps me present in our relationship, regardless of the particular energy and circumstances. Same with my husband. He and I are both very good at paying attention, AND communicating. I feel very fortunate about that. I think I am a pretty great nature-noticer, as well. We live in the country, have a 25-30 min commute into town. I make a point of noticing sunrises and sets, clouds, wildlife, birds in flight, sunlight sparking on snow, the colors of the mountains, etc… Each day, the same home and the same drive, and it never gets old! Again, I feel very fortunate about that. Don’t get me wrong, I notice the not so pleasant stuff, too. I just choose to not put too much focus there.
    I am always grateful for your insights and inspiration. And most especially the workouts and mantras! Love to your sweet little family!

  14. Kevin Decoteau says:

    Isn’t it beautiful, being a parent I mean. I can’t believe that my daughter is about to turn 27 in just a couple of weeks, they place a mark on our life timeline that can not be erased. Sharing this journey with you for these years has been an honor and one tat will continue for a long time I pray. I am not running as much as I used to, it will come back I am sure, I just needed a break for a while, although I have begun using some of that time in starting a garden at my local community garden so I can have fresh organic food that I have nurtured myself. I am learning about life although I can not put into words yet what that lesson is, except to keep moving forward and continue to heal and as the healing takes place to bring others along with me. You have been such a blessing to me Erin, thank you
    Kevin Decoteau

  15. Bonnie says:

    How I remember doting on each of my babies! It must be a maternal instinct that makes us so attentive to our children when they are born. We instinctively pay attention to things that we love. Although my three kids are all grown and on their own now, I’m always checking to see that everyone is well. I also just realized that I’m very attentive to my wonderful Black Lab now. I see when his ears twitch or perk up at distant sounds, when he looks out the window, or wags his tail in the kitchen when smelling something good. He loves bringing me a ball to play or will just stay by my side while I rest. I can almost read his thoughts when he looks at me with those big brown eyes, and he senses my moods as well. Yes, we pay attention to things we love… and that love is attentive to us in return.

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