“Do you want to be here?” If you’ve ever heard these words, whether on a date, at work, etc., you’ll think about one thing a different way. The saying “Showing up is the important part” isn’t true. It’s a compromise. It’s a game we play with ourselves to feel better about not finishing things.
Pretending showing up is the most important part is for a parent that’s missed 10 of his or her kid’s recitals and finally makes it to one, but is on their phone checking work emails half the time. “But at least I was there, and I saw it,” they’d probably say. You were there, but you weren’t really present.
What good is showing up?
‘Being there’ is only a physical proximity. You can go the motions and try to look the part, but it’s not the same as really being involved. If you’re asked if you want to be there on a date for example, you’re probably not paying attention and are rather poor company. Showing up doesn’t do anything for your date except create expectations that, in this example, won’t be fulfilled.
In our evolving digital age where it seems like everyone is competing for your attention, it’s one of the most valuable things you have to give. Any attention you give is saying “I enjoy this,” or “This caught my interest,” or even “This is worth it.” We have a finite amount of attention we can give in any day, so where we choose to spend it is very telling. In a way, the question “Do you want to be here?” highlights the disparity of things we’re expected to do and what we invest in. When we become aware of things we’ve only been showing up for but not really participating in, we really only have two options. We can decide to try harder and become meaningfully involved or we can decide there’s a reason we’ve been disengaged and abandon it.
That may sound obvious, but the mile-a-minute lifestyle so many have these days is indicative that it’s not so obvious. We try to do so many things, and whether we do them well or not sayings that tell us to ‘show up’ convince us we’ve done enough. Do we really want to be here? Because if not, even showing up is a waste of our time.