I have been working on my Manifesto for many weeks now. It’s my statement of purpose of why I write and why anyone would be interested. The plan is to publish it next week. The title is Love’s Manifesto: to be seen, to be known, and to be loved into wholeness.
The first part of that is: to be seen.
We are told it is a fundamental need in humans to be seen.
I’ve been doing research to find out why.
How does it work? What is it we are looking for?
What is the benefit of having this need met?
Clearly, the being seen part of that line does not deliver the core human need I am addressing.
Why is that?
Because the second part negates the first.
In that context, the child is an object to be dominated and controlled instead of a person who deserves value.
Children are people and people need to be seen and heard. Taking the voice away from a child takes away their power to rule over themselves. It causes a codependency on authority instead of teaching a child how to express and control their own attitudes and behaviors.
Today I was reading a short article by Joshua Hook, The Need To Be Seen.
The writer shares an observation he made while at a sporting event.
One thing I noticed during the game was how excited everyone was if they saw themselves on the Jumbotron. They could have been bored and half asleep one second before, but once they saw themselves on the Jumbotron, everyone would jump up, wave their hands wildly, and act crazy.…
Why is it so fun to be on the big screen?
… each of us has a need to be seen.
We want the chance to express our humanity, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are important enough to be recognized and acknowledged by others. (emphasis mine)
Having our need to be seen met provides these benefits.
It makes us come alive.
It validates us.
It infuses us with energy.
It motivates us – to engage, to respond, and to contribute.
Motivation is clearly impacted by whether our need to be seen is met or not.
Craig Dowden Ph.D. shares a powerful picture of this in his article:
Research was done to highlight the importance of the simple act of acknowledgment (being seen).
The people in the study were divided into three groups and all given the same task.
The variable was following the completion of the task.
When each participant handed their completed task to the experimenter there were three different responses.
The first group.
The experimenter took the paper and quickly scanned before filing.
They were acknowledged.
The second group.
The experimenter took the paper and immediately filed it without reviewing it.
They were ignored.
The third group.
The experimenter took the paper and without looking and immediately put it through a shredder.
Their work was destroyed.
When I read about the third group I was appalled.
I expected their results to be the worst because they were treated the worst.
Motivation is clearly impacted by whether our need to be seen is met or not. Click To Tweet
I was wrong.
The research was done for the purpose of tracking motivation. Here is what they said.
The results were striking…those in the Acknowledged condition persevered significantly longer…
… NO DIFFERENCE between the completion rates for the Ignored and Shredder groups.
… findings demonstrate the sheer power of acknowledgement when it comes to our work. It is important to point out that the researchers did not do an in depth analysis of the accuracy or quality of the work. It was simply a matter of recognizing the work…the impact of acknowledgement on the motivation of the participants was profound.
…. it is critical to highlight the lack of difference between the Ignored and Shredded conditions.
essentially, IGNORING THE WORK OF SOMEONE ELSE has the SAME IMPACT as PROMPTLY PUTTING IT IN A SHREDDER. (emphasis mine)
That is profound.
The third group had their work destroyed while the second group did not.
Yet the second group’s lack of having their need to be seen met = their work being destroyed.
The article goes on to say how technology connects us to our work.
But it is the paying attention to each other (personal acknowledgment) that causes us to truly feel connected.
Paying attention to each other is a form of seeing each other, meeting each other’s need to be seen.Paying attention to each other is a form of seeing each other, meeting each other’s need to be seen. Click To Tweet
Being seen provides us with the much needed human connection with those around us.
While I was working on this article I had an amazing illustration arrive in my own life.
Last week I had been sick and had to quarantine myself. Because of this, I missed my usual time with three of my grandkids. Yesterday I got to see two of them. It was awesome. I missed them so much.
Tomorrow I had my usual plans to hold and rock the new little one.
But I got an unexpected surprise.
I got a text letting me know my grandson (who I was not going to be able to see this week) had a half day of school, and I had the opportunity to pick him up and rock his baby brother!
I was elated!
These words came rushing out of my mouth I get to see ALL my grandbabies this week!!
As those words jubilantly escaped my lips and I did my classic hysterical clap of joy – I saw something.
The illustration of the word SEE as it relates to the need to be seen.
It wasn’t see, as in just with the eyeballs.
It was deeper.
SEE = connect.
I get to connect with my ALL of my grandbabies this week.
Brené Brown defines connection as this:
the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
I have this with my grandchildren and I could not be happier!
I have the privilege of providing them jumbotron type experiences when they shout out Mima watch! Mima watch!
I have the privilege to acknowledge them, which helps them with motivation.
I have the privilege of hearing their stories.
When we take the time to see others, to acknowledge them, to listen to them and respond.
We are loving them.
We have the need to be seen. We crave it.
Have you ever tried to be on a jumbotron? Or anything else like that?
Have you photo-bombed a friend’s picture?
What about people who hack into people’s phones or Facebook accounts or whatnot to prank them?
What is it they are in actuality doing?
They are trying to be seen.
And that seeking to be seen is a seeking to connect.
Connect in the comments here.
Share a time you felt seen or provided that need for someone else.
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