"Watch me daddy, watch me!!!" and "Look mom, look at me!" are words we are all used to hearing any time children are gathered. They say it incessantly, loudly, and with NO shame. But why?
Children long to be seen. And if we are honest, so do we! Oh yes, we learn to hide it and disguise it in grown up lingo, but no matter how old we get, the desire, the ache to be seen never goes away.
Did you know that babies who are not seen (or mirrored) can actually die? Without an active loving caregiver looking into a baby's eyes and giving them the message that they exist, neurological pathways fail to develop in the brain and eventually, so does the child. So, the bottom line is that, as human beings, we need a feedback loop in order to thrive.
There is a beautiful and moving greeting practiced in Africa called Ubuntu. It involves looking deeply into the eyes of the person being greeted and saying, "I see you". We all saw a similar custom in the moving and revolutionary film, Avatar where the native people would greet each other saying "I see you". The kicker for me in the African culture though is the customary tribal response. Roughly stated, the receiver says, "Until you see me, I do not exist. When you see me, you bring me into existence". Whew! I don't know about you, but for me, these words fell into the tear-jerker category.
It was like a door opened in my mind and suddenly I could see all the ways in my life I was hiding due to shame and all the ways I was desperately trying to be seen. Our society tends to tolerate kids seeking out validation, but before the age of 10, the shaming messages win and children learn that it is selfish and egotistical to purposefully seek out praise or attention. So, we shut it down and learn to look for it in socially acceptable ways.
So, in what ways do you see yourself hiding? Do you carry a little extra weight? Are you hiding a secret addiction? Do you conceal softer emotion behind a wall of anger? Or do you just become a workaholic?
And then, how do you compensate and try to get that needed attention? Do you work too hard for that reward at work? Do you volunteer too much to help at social events? Or maybe you place too much attention on appearance, sex, or money?
Whatever and however your hiding shows up in the world, I would love to help you overcome the shame, break through the obstacles, and bring the shining light of you back into the world. You deserve to be seen. You need to be seen. And that is my gift. I want to see you, the real you. Let's uncover that person together!