Seen

"When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there." George Harrison



There's something to be said about being seen. By that, I mean when others take the time to honor your humanity. It's people stopping to give you their undivided attention, gifting you their time, and devoting their energy to you, and you alone. It's this moment of intense human connection. It's purposeful. It's entrancing. It's meaningful. Oh to see, and to be seen. In a world where we see very little beyond the confines of our viewpoint to truly see another person, even if only for a moment, is something significant. People are used to not being seen. Who takes the time to notice them, to recognize their existence, and to celebrate their humanity just because? It can be a rarity.

We expect people to treat us largely with indifference, let alone prioritize us in a fleeting moment. When people do relish in our presence, grace us with their time, and communicate that we matter - specifically to them - it's critically important. There is power in the minutiae of seeing people - paying attention to who they are, what they need, and how they're living.  It will always strike others as remarkable when people abandon the apathetic script we have unwittingly embraced, to intentionally see folx. In having this everyday power to uplift, support, and validate - we are charged with using it as often as we can. See people as people, see them as they are, and see them to see them. 



Seeing goes beyond people and extends to applying action to that recognition. Asking people who are struggling, need help, or going through a tough time what they need can be draining for them. I have found that showing up for others is just showing up, going to them, being with them, doing things to support them without them asking. Relieve the ask, and just do. The ask is just one more thing someone has to do a the precise moment when they feel most incapable of doing it. It's when we see someone fumbling to carry many an item, we can if they need help, or we just go help them. We can speed forward to get the door for them. We can literally lighten the load for them. 

We take some of the pressure off. We ease the heaviness of whatever they are enduring. We simplify things for them and with them. We are socialized to sanctify our individualism and independence in spite of our needs for collectivism and community, when in reality asking for help should be the norm. What if we took asking for help as implied (within reason), and did more than offer our help, but actually helped? Helping means actually doing something to help. Showing up oftentimes is doing just that ... showing up. It's following through. It's being there. It's arriving. It's being reliable, dependable, and consistent. It's making declarations, and living up to them. That's seeing people, and meeting their needs. 


There are ways in which people are used to be invisible in highly visible places. Maybe it's the anonymity of being in a crowd, or being the background in someone else's life story. Whatever it is, people are not used to be seen and being called in. Calling people can be revolutionary. Naming things brings attention to them. People behave differently when they are aware that others are noticing them. Sometimes all it take is naming what you're recognizing, and letting people respond accordingly. "I'm noticing ... or I can see you ... or I have picked up on ..." - whatever style chosen, the outcome is the same. People lose their group identity or visible invisibility - for better, and for worse.

Being called in means that people are challenged to become active participants in whatever is going on. It can be saying someone's name, tapping them literally or figuratively, or asking them a question directly squarely at them. It's a way to draw people in, make them feel included, and to empower them to dynamically engage. It's also a way to address bad behavior or language without directly implicating its perpetrator. Separating the deed from the doer gives space to critique what occurred without necessarily indicting its originator, before going back to having said person take ownership of their impact. Naming, and calling in work wonders in crowds, audiences, or groups. It says "hey, I can see you there - you're in plain sight ... come join." 




People do not change unless they know they need to change. Sometimes we imagine people to be more perceptive than they allow themselves to be. It's making assumptions about what people pick up, are self-aware about, or sleuth to contextualize that can leave us confused, frustrated, and disappointed when others do not recognize and seek to rectify their impact. We have to address people. We may be confrontation averse, but the inverse is being permissive of a cycle. We are meant to interrupt that cycle. We can be the divergent catalyst that accelerates another's self-awareness. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? People may, scratch that, do need us to be explicit in what we're feeling, and experiencing - particularly with them. We need to be bold and say what we need to say. We need to tell people how they've made us feel. We need to ask for what we need from others. We need to balance out the scales of energy, effort, and time that we invest in others. We need to see so that we can be seen. Tell people what they need to know about themselves, and tell them what they need to know about us. We don't know what we don't know - until someone tells us. X

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