What does it mean to feel seen?
This is a question I found myself contemplating after a conversation I had with a close friend. In the midst of catching up on our daily lives, exchanging thoughts, and venting each other’s ear off, she asked me a question that stopped me dead in my tracks.
“Do you feel seen?” she asked.
This is something I hadn’t really thought about, and if I’m being honest, it’s a question that instantly not only left me dumbfounded but uncomfortable.
I’m not one who easily opens up or likes feeling vulnerable, which is why this question made me feel so uneasy. I decided to embrace the discomfort because discomfort sprouts growth. Instead of shying away from this, I decided to reflect on it and really dig deep on what feeling seen means to me.
Truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. To feel seen can look different for each person.
In my self-reflection, I have come to the conclusion that to feel seen is intertwined with our sense of self-identity.
It is important to know yourself and who you are so that you don’t look or rely on others to tell you who you are.
It can become very easy to look at others and depend on them to give you what you need—whatever that fulfillment is that you are looking to fill.
To that I say, don’t look at others to give you what you need, but give it to yourself. Find fulfillment within yourself, and as a result, validation will come from within yourself and not from others.
So, what does feeling seen mean to me?
Feeling seen is to listen, and I mean really listen. Listening with the intention not to disregard, fix, or rescue.
Feeling seen is to be present, not necessarily to understand, because we all come from different experiences and backgrounds. Being present and in the moment to be able to empathize, comfort, and support.
Feeling seen is to accept, not aiming to change or judge but to not be dismissive because everyone’s experience, no matter how big, small, or different, is valid.
The biggest takeaway from this conversation is that everything starts with you. What’s that popular phrase again?
Wherever you go, there you are.
See, value, and love yourself first, and when you honor yourself in this way, you will cultivate relationships in your life that exude these qualities.
Now, I ask you: What does being seen mean to you and do you feel seen by those who you hold close and dear to your heart?