What Does it Mean to be Seen?!?!!?

being seen

Through the last 17 years that I have been in the mental health field I have worked with all different ages, genders, and cultures of people.  In so many ways there is more that connects us than what separates us.  One of the themes I have noticed to be present is the people I work with is the need to be seen.  Notice I used the word “need” instead of “want”?  I truly see this as a need that people have.  If we don’t have people in our lives who truly see us, most of us struggle.

That said, most of us are afraid that if we are REALLY seen, the people we love won’t accept or love us for who we are.  I almost think that being able to truly be seen is one of the most healing parts of therapy.  Regardless of age, people feel such relief when they are seen, understood, and they are not rejected.  An interesting thing is this, regardless of age, most people crave this from their parents and families of origin almost more than anyone else.  It is like we come into this world craving unconditional love and acceptance from our parents.  If we get this, we are stronger and braver in the world around us.  Sit with this for just a minute.  Isn’t that an incredible gift we can give to our children? We can truly see and love them for who they are, not who we planned for them to be.

When we are loved and accepted for who we are, there is a fundamental shift.  Anxiety decreases.  We feel emotionally safe.  We are more willing to try new things and take healthy risks.  At a basic level we get the message “you are okay”.  I think this is a beautiful gift to give anyone you are close to in your life.  Try to take your agenda out of the relationship and focus on who they are.  Focus on what they like.  Try to ask questions with the intention to understand them.

If you need help in your relationship with a family member or even with yourself, give us a call at 720-583-9332.  We are happy to help!

Written by Dr. Steffanie Stecker


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