What does Emotional Presence mean to you?

“When a kid walks in the room, does your face light up?” – Toni Morrison

Hearing that question years ago as I was approaching parenthood gave me an entirely different perspective. I realized children seek validation from us. They look at our reactions for acceptance and worth. As Toni Morrison – Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning American Novelist – said, “You think your love and deep affection is on display, but it’s not. They see your critical face.”

How often do you find yourself physically present but not emotionally present? Your thoughts are distracted by all the things you have to do. You feel weighed down by work or life and think being physically present is good enough.

Or, maybe you don’t even give it that much thought.

If you take the time to think about the relationships that are most fulfilling to you, is it because when you’re in the presence of that person you feel like they really care?

If you are a parent, just think about what kids crave most. More than anything, they want to be in your presence whether it’s playing a game, eating dinner, telling you about their day or just hanging out. When you’re at their dance recital or ball game, they want to make sure you saw that perfect spin or great tackle. But how often are you emotionally present to experience the joy of those moments?

I think Toni Morrison offered the best advice when she said, “Let your face speak what is in your heart… it is just as small as that.”

As adults, we desire the same thing. We want the person we are engaging with to be emotionally present, whether in our personal or professional environment. We all want to be validated, understood, and heard.

How can you give the gift of emotional presence?

Let your face show what is in your heart

Remember the 3 I’s of Being Emotionally Present.

  • Immersed – Am I fully committed to listening to what the other person is telling me? Am I paying attention to the language they are using, as well as the gestures they make and the expression on their face? Am I asking clarifying questions when I don’t understand? Have I removed all distractions (when possible) so that I can truly focus on what the other person is sharing with me?
  • Intentional – Am I truly listening, or am I preparing my response, my advice, my argument, my solution? Am I “thinking ahead,” or intentionally staying in the moment so I do not miss what a person really needs (or would like) from me? And maybe they don’t need anything except for me to be intentionally and emotionally present.
  • Invested – Do I care about how this interaction will affect the person I’m being emotionally present to? Do I want them to reach a positive outcome or at the very least, feel heard… feel worthy and important? (Because they are!)

Take time to become aware of how present you are with the people that matter most to you. Putting in the time to develop your “presented-ness” will help shape the love, care, and concern that will naturally appear on your face.

Take a moment today and ask yourself if your face speaks what is in your heart.

And if it doesn’t, why?

Image © Canva Layouts | Created with

You might also enjoy:

Antonette Taylor

Antonette Taylor

My name is Antonette Taylor, and I'm a Life Coach, Speaker, and Author living and working in Chicagoland. I specialize in empowering women who want to live their full potential and are ready for change or greater accomplishment in their lives. I'd like to learn more about how I can help you! I invite you to fill out my contact form today!
Antonette Taylor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *