"It's not what you look at, it's what you see."
I was watching one of my favorite TV shows the other night, Criminal Minds. If you've ever watched the show before, you know that they always say a quote at the end of the show (it's a voice over as the Behavioral Analysis Unit flies back home after accurately profiling and helping catch the criminal). The quote at the end of this particular episode was the one listed above. It really struck a chord with me.
Most people have heard that there is a difference between hearing and listening. I believe that the above quote is the visual equivalent of hearing vs. listening. On the TV show the quote was in the context of detectives and Behavioral Analysts seeing beyond what most people would see in a crime scene or criminal case. But I think that this can apply to all areas of life.
In a televised book club, a reader had a light bulb moment when she realized that all children really want is to be truly "seen" by their parents. Not just looked at...but really seen. They want their parents to look them in the eye and light up. To give them undivided attention and really make them feel like they matter, like they are important, like they aren't a burden, like they matter even if just for a few minutes. The best selling author who was present during this conversation responded with, "Everyone just wants to be seen." The room literally went silent for 30 seconds. Her point? It's not just children who need/want that. Adults want it too. It is the most basic human need (after water and food and shelter, of course). Human beings all over the world just want to be seen. To feel like they matter.
When I heard the quote above I was reminded of this author's point and I couldn't agree more. Ever since I saw this televised book club years ago I have tried to make an effort to make people around me feel like they are "seen." And now I'm realizing that this concept not only applies to personal relationships but all relationships, including professional relationships. Think about it. When you want recognition at work, what are you really looking for? You want to be "seen." You want to know that you are not just another warm body in the office. That you matter, that you are important.
The world would be a better place if everyone practiced the art of Listening and Seeing. Wouldn't you agree?
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