Thoughtful vs Mindful
The term ‘mindfulness’ is a hot and trendy topic. Type ‘mindfulness’ into Google and you get 207 million hits. In contrast, type ‘thoughtfulness’ and you get 8 million hits. After being asked if there is a difference between the two it prompted me to write a post to share my perspective.
Mindfulness and thoughtfulness are complementary, yet there is benefit in defining them differently. By doing so we have the ability to focus our attention in ways that support our intentions, needs, and decision making.
Mindfulness is the conscious awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations with your ability to focus in on the present moment.
To notice, acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations without reacting, judging, or being drawn down any given path. Mindfulness is often referred to in meditation techniques, and through the practice we learn how to move into a calmer state of being, by mindfully being aware of what is going on in the present moment. The focus is very much on the internal conversation, noise, chatter or activity that takes place in your own mind. Rather than ‘clearing’ your mind, it’s more about observing and acknowledging what’s going on.
Mindfulness is the focus on yourself. With the intention of getting to know yourself better, understand yourself more, and bring more compassion, self awareness and acceptance into perspective.
The practice of mindfulness allows us to become aware and acknowledge our own feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations, without reacting to them.
Mindfulness is a practice (a habit or exercise), it can be learned, and it can create feelings of peace, calm, and tranquility.
The experience of practicing mindfulness can be different each time and is unique to each individual.
When you learn to train your own mind into calmly assessing, reviewing, and being consciously aware of your own feelings, thoughts, and sensations without bringing past or future thoughts into mind you not only consciously and subconsciously benefit you may interact, connect and communicate with others in new, enhanced, and possibly unexpected ways.
Mindfulness can help achieve new levels of awareness of your own desires, needs, and perspectives.
Mindfulness can help you be more compassionate with yourself, most of us operate as our harshest critic, mindfulness develops the awareness of noticing when that critic shows up and what you can do.
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the mind, is the focus on ourself, and applying the lens of being in the present moment.
Thoughtfulness evokes feelings and is about being considerate of others, with the result of enhancing environments, cultures, and experiences.
Thoughtfulness is not about discounting or sacrificing your own needs or desires. It is also not about making judgements of others, making assumptions about their needs or desires, or pushing or advancing agendas. These are different discussions.
Thoughtfulness is not about over analyzing either, too much over thinking leads to indecision and lack of execution which creates stagnation.
Thoughtfulness creates moments and experiences that makes someone feel valued, which leads to engagement and momentum.
Observing with care, exploring how decisions and choices impact other people. Often thoughtfulness is about putting yourself in the shoes of someone else, imagining how you would respond if what you’re considering happened to you, what would you most like to happen, and how will your choices benefit others.
Thoughtfulness is seeking to understand someone more completely, demonstrating you are listening, giving the sense that you see and hear them for who they are, irrespective of their views or opinions. (Mindfulness is where you consider your response or reaction based on the topic.)
Thoughtfulness is about connecting and engaging with someone or a group of people by being considerate to who they are as individuals.
Thoughtfulness is about exploring and engaging others in conversation to create an environment conducive to discussion and connection.
Thoughtfulness is where we have an opportunity to get to know someone better, thoughtfulness is about considering the audience, considering what their perspective is, and exploring ways to more deeply connect.
Mindfulness is a practice of focus on the self, and thoughtfulness is practice of consideration for others.
Both mindfulness and thoughtfulness create connections in different ways and by considering their definitions independently it gives us the ability to give attention to, practice, and enhance our skill and capability in both.