Being Seen

It’s incredible, the feeling of being seen. Not only seen, but heard too. In times of uncertainty and struggle one of the most touching actions from another is hearing that they see you, and that they care. No intervention needed, just a caring witness, someone who knows and acknowledges how hard you are trying.

These are the moments that catch me and stick with me the most. It happened when I was young and on the cross country team, one of my coaches took the time to acknowledge how hard I was trying. He hardly knew just how much I was going through at home, but he could still see how hard I was trying.

It happened when I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office, recounting my tory and remarking that I was “just fine.” She didn’t down-play anything, she knew just how hard I was pushing myself. It happened when I answered the question “how are you doing?” with a common “good,” and my friend asked “really?”

It happened again just two days ago. I was pulled out of a process group at Monte Nido – I had been struggling periodically throughout the day – and Kate asked me “what’s up?” My mood had dropped and I felt depressed. I was still showing up, as if nothing had happened; but my motivation was fickle and my eyes told a story, a story of struggle. Kate remarked that my words told her I was fine but my face told her otherwise, and she couldn’t have been more correct. She saw me. I was hurting on the inside, and she wanted me to know that she care, and that she saw me.

As humans, we need more moments like these. Moments of raw connection – not problem-solving or berating – but simply moments of witnessing and showing up for others. We push ourselves so hard, and move so quickly in today’s society; it can be challenging to slow down and face the truth of one’s efforts. We need to start taking the time to witness our true emotions, and show compassion for ourselves and others in the process.

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