The Importance of Feeling Seen and Acknowledged
My grandmother “Tita Sarita” as we called her was an amazing woman. She made everyone feel that they were unique and special. I really thought I was her favourite, until one day after she died when I was having lunch with a large group of my cousins and we realized that we all felt that we were her favourite. How amazing that she could make each one of us feel that way!
I hear from many of my clients how much we all need to be seen and acknowledged. It’s a universal need. How more than anything else we want the people close to us to make us feel heard, to make us feel they care, to make us feel we matter.
We want to feel appreciated.
So what was it that my “Tita Sarita” did, and that we can all do, to give the gift of feeling acknowledged and seen to those people we care about?
She truly listened. And what I mean by TRULY LISTEN is:
- Give all of your attention (NO MULTITASKING) to ask how the other person is doing and how they feel. Many questions. Real curiosity.
- Listen without having to fix or tell the other side what they should do.
- Be with the person with empathy. Just there with them in whatever emotion it is.
- Paraphrase to show acknowledgement (“so what you are saying is” or “let me see if I get it”).
- Know that you can actually acknowledge the feelings and needs of the other person without having to agree. Many times if we really listen and try to see the other perspective that is all that is needed.
- Show excitement and joy in seeing the other person, like it was not a given but an amazing surprise to hear from them.
- Getting triggered by what the other person is saying? Take a step back. Take a break and then come back.
She has been gone more than 15 years but I will always remember how my grandmother made me feel.
Giving the gift of being seen and of feeling acknowledged takes just a few minutes and it can make a world of difference to the other person.
Also, spend some time exploring what specific actions and behaviours would make YOU feel loved, heard and content in your relationships and then ASK for them. The other person may have needs that are totally different.
Give the gift of making the people close to you feel heard and acknowledged. Show them that you care and that they matter to you.