Insights: Seen, Heard and Understood

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Something we all need is to be seen, heard and understood.

We so easily loose this type of connection with our society’s addiction to texting and the internet. Both of these are distracting us from really connecting to people. Not only are we disconnecting from each other, but the overuse of a cell phone is showing up in studies as rewiring the brain, causing issues in motor functioning, increasing rates of depression, let alone limiting peoples’ linguistic ability.

You cannot tell tone, intention or emotion in a text or email. When we talk in person, about 75 percent of the communication is non-verbal; also eye contact releases positive chemicals that build our immune system and make us feel good. It also makes us feel connected, which is one of our innate needs as a human being. We also are more likely to feel seen, heard and understood.

One of my goals on a daily basis is to make sure people I meet at least feel seen. That could be just offering a smile as I am walking my dogs.

A girlfriend called me this evening just to share how much she appreciates me in her life.  I have not stopped thinking about it all evening. It made me feel wanted, and connected, a great feeling. She had no other intention but to tell me that. When was the last time you shared how much you care about someone without any other intention? It is especially easy to forget to see, hear and understand those we are closest to.

I frequently hear complaints from my clients about their partners and how they are more attentive to others needs, leaving them feeling disconnected.

How are you going to make sure you see, hear and understand those around you? This is really just about being present. Hear about their day, not while multi-tasking. Comment on something positive about them that day. Even when you want to argue against something they are saying, what about hearing them out and mirror them before rushing into sharing your opinion.

Now what about those that you do not know, how are you going to see, hear and understand them?

I met a guy called Mark. Realizing how lonely people can be, he spends his day in coffee shops just talking to them. He has a dream, a dream to make a difference in the world. With this in mind he has set up a monthly visit to a nursing home to bring flowers and chat with the residents. It is that simple, to just take the time to talk to someone.

So often people in nursing homes do not get visitors, their only chance to connect with someone is the staff. Sadly, these people are often forgotten and yet, just like us, they all have a story, in fact, many stories.

I know we all need to be heard, however, once we reach the end stage of our lives, it actually becomes more important to share our stories.

If you want to join Mark and I in our endeavor to make a difference, one person at a time, meet us at Mothers Market in Costa Mesa, at 8 a.m. on Saturday, November 9. We will be going over to Fairview Nursing home to listen to a few stories.

Martin Luther King, Jr., asked a good question: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

The good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

We can make a difference, listening to one story at a time.

If you want more information on this activity, please email me at [email protected].

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  1. Hi Shelly, Remember me, I went to Sue Foley’s cardio party class at 24 hour fitness. What a great idea this is. I am currently involved in caring for my mother (97) and mother-in-law (95) – and this is so true. People of this age rarely get visitors – everyone is too busy!
    I cannot go with you and Mark, but I applaud your caring efforts, and hope you get a good turn out.
    Nice to hear what you are up too! I miss that class.
    Liz Thomas