Here’s what I know for sure… we all want two things in life. And by want, I mean we desire and yearn for and search, long and run after the moment we see a glimpse. Well, sometimes perhaps it’s that drastic, other times we are just aware it exists. And by having an awareness of our real desires, we are so much more apt to find, especially when we are not even looking. That’s real bliss actually…When we no longer have to seek, but it just finds us.
I could go on but first let me tell you about these two things.
We all want to be SEEN and we all want to be LISTENED TO.
Notice, I said listened to, not heard. There is a reason. I hear a helicopter off in the distance out my window right now. The faint sounds of a bird chirping a few trees over, a faint dog bark and the voice of a child. All right now. But I didn’t hear them at all a few moments ago, I wasn’t really listening to them. When we truly listen to another, we give their words life and meaning. We validate the words very existence. We engage in that moment in life with her and we invite each other in.
I have talked in the past about the word Sawubona. It was a word I heard a few times circled around in a few different channels about 6 or 7 years ago. The word is a Zulu greeting with means “We see you.” And as Orland Bishop, a youth mentor in L.A. described it, it was always we, not I. We all come from a rich history, a background, a legacy. We all come from something, someone, somewhere.
So the “we” becomes our ability to see beyond ourselves, and the “seeing” of another is the ability to connect in that moment, together. For reasons we often never know, we meet others exactly when we are supposed to… The ones that help us to become more of who we are supposed to be. Coaches, mentors, parents, friends, teachers, family, they all are a part of our history. And when we really “see” another person, in all their vulnerability and their power, all of their weaknesses and strengths, for all they are, the audacity of that moment is breathtaking. It reminds us of the fact that when we invite others into our lives in that moment, we are a witness to each other’s souls.
It’s a simple way of connecting. Look into a stranger’s eyes as you pass them in the store, as you hold the door walking out of a restaurant, as you board the bus. Speak and listen… and see them. Really see them.
All of life’s relationships, whether they are coach and player, two people on the same team, co-workers, spouses, or parent and daughter, all rely on knowing we each want these two things. And having that awareness helps to create deeper connections.
How can this be done so easily? I have long been a proponent of the little things that have huge meaning. They will always add up.
I was walking into a large office building in Center City, Philadelphia a few weeks ago. On the way in, everyone who passed security at the front desk had to either sign in or show ID. I showed the lady near the elevator my ID and as I did, I just happened to glance at her nametag. She let me through and up to the top floor for my meeting. I was up there almost an hour and a half.
I said goodbye and came back down to the lobby. As I walked out, I passed her again as I am sure hundreds of others did that day. I made it a point to look her way, and as I was passing her I made eye contact and she smiled. I smiled back and told her to have a wonderful rest of the day. She said, “Thank you Jennifer, you do the same.”
And as I walked by, it took me a second to realize that she called me by name. She remembered my name. I turned back to look at her as she was checking another ID. I looked again, stopping in my tracks. And if she wasn’t so busy I think I would have gone back and let her know that I appreciated that.
She called me by name.
I stopped in my tracks because I couldn’t believe she would remember me. An hour and a half later after she said hello and goodbye to what had to be 70 people just while I was upstairs.
She saw me. She embraced my existence in that moment.
And right then I realized how important being present is.
How much we yearn for and jump around for and desire…
How much we want to be listened to… and seen.
“WE” see you too.