I see YOU
I notice YOU
And YOU MATTER
A few very simple words really, and although they can be flippantly and mindlessly said or dismissed, it doesn’t diminish the deep meaning or impact these few simple words can elicit. Yet it seems as though by actually seeing someone and having that experience of putting yourself out there and in turn being seen doing this, you are in fact engaging in a very vulnerable act.
Think back to a time when you may have experienced this. Think back to a time when you have been on a bus or train, or have been waiting in line for something. And if you are like many others you people watch – whether it is direct, or under the guise of reading a magazine. As you look around you observe people laughing, children jumping on and off the park bench as their mother struggles to find the phone that’s ringing in the bottom of her handbag over stuffed with ‘just-in-case’ items like a hat, sunscreen and snacks. Then just as you turn back to your magazine you see something special. You see that same flustered mother stop, drop everything, and embrace her child with the love and compassion that is unique to a mother, as they cry holding their freshly scraped knee. Just as you think to yourself what an amazing being a mother is and how special it is to witness the love between a mother and her child she catches your eye. In a second you snap your head back to your magazine and pretend you saw nothing, and a hint of shame or guilt squeezes your chest for making yourself privy to such a special moment. It is then that we see that you weren’t ‘seeing’ this at all. Rather you were observing.
To truly ‘see’ something as opposed to stealing a glance or casual observation, is to truly notice that which is before you with awareness. It is to be present in that moment with the full conviction of being there and participating in something meaningful no matter how seemingly insignificant it may appear.
As human beings we have become increasingly introvert in how we experience emotion, both our own and others. It’s as if emotion is something akin to the plague and an experience laden with shame and guilt. We may wonder why, but we needn’t look any further than the mirror. We play into this game that has engulfed society – the game of guilt, shame, ridicule and blame. We have forgotten that as a global society we are all essentially the same inside and out, and have become too uncomfortably numb to it all.
I’m going to share a little moment of vulnerability with you all here so bear with me. One of my greatest struggles is vulnerability. I don’t like putting myself out there and I don’t like showing openly my emotions when I have been hurt. I have spent the past 8 years trying to deal with the pain I felt when someone in our immediate family chose to completely reject my child purely because they were not ‘blood related’. The event has ripped massive holes in our family as my husband and I fought to protect our young children from these actions, and in the process I have been painted as the terrible, unfair, mean witch by many of our family. Most of all, this whole ordeal made both my daughter and I feel unseen, unnoticed, and like we don’t matter. It’s not a nice feeling. And it’s something I have up until a few years ago, just laid down and taken. What I have learnt however (and here is the BIG vulnerable moment for me), that maybe this person was feeling unseen, unnoticed and like they didn’t matter too. Although it may have been unintentional, maybe I didn’t communicate or portray the message that ‘I see you, I notice you and you matter’ very well for where they were at in themselves at the time. If that is the case – I am deeply apologetic and wish to say right here and now that….
I SEE YOU, I NOTICE YOU, AND YOU MATTER….ALWAYS.
Does that mean that my boundaries on what behaviours we accept in our family unit are null and void? No. But it does mean this. I see you. For the wonderful parent you are. I notice you. For the wonderful things you have done for others. And you matter. Always. That has never changed. You mattered to me the first time I met you. And you matter today too. If you were to ask tomorrow for a clean slate, a do-over, a rematch…I would give it to you. Because you will matter for all time regardless of what happens in life.
Phew! Wow that wasn’t too hard……….okay it was but I needed to set things straight once and for all. Because as Brene says…vulnerability is the cornerstone of courage. I’ve been through hell and back in my life and all that is about to be challenged…because shame can only survive where there is secrecy, silence and judgement. Now that there have been a few major things shift in our lives I will be blowing the lid off that which has kept me prisoner since I was 4 years old. And in doing so I hope to help others to leap into their own power too.
You may be thinking how I began exploring this topic and you needn’t look any further than the wonderful Brene Brown. This researcher and vulnerability expert is the leading woman in this area and has great insight (however confronting) into how we humans tick and tock. At My Infinite Balance we are starting an online book club n November 1, 2013 on Brenes book ‘Daring Greatly’. We will then have both an online and in person (Sunshine Coast Australia) ‘Bookend Dinner’ discussion to discuss and question what we experienced through this book. This is open to anyone and I encourage you to share this with your friends, family and followers so they can be part too. Maybe you can even start your own local group and start it the same time as us and we can all collaborate. I’m looking forward to connecting with you all, and looking forward to learning and growing more in the process of reading this book. You can check out her TED talks on you tube also.