Friday, July 24, 2015

the need to be seen

I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline awhile back, half paying attention, when an image came up which read:

Don't know which is worse: To be present and your presence not acknowledged or to be absent and your absence not felt.

It caught me off guard and made me stop what I was doing, reflect and pose the question as to which would be worse for me. As a person who thrives on validation, my initial response was immediate - obviously being present and not having my presence acknowledged would be worse. But the longer I thought about it, the more I felt: It's a hard question to answer!

The first situation addresses the immediate here and now. Being absent and not having your absence felt is much more complicated. It might mean you are aware that your absence wasn't felt or it could also mean that you are unaware or oblivious to the fact. For most, being unaware is easier on the ego (after all, there is some truth to the saying "ignorance is bliss!), but it still doesn't mask the reality that your absence wasn't felt.

Just think about that for a minute. Simply put, it can be interpreted to mean that if you're not there, you're not missed.

As living beings, we all have a need to feel connected. Among individuals, that need for connection can vary from needing to feel it at all times, to seeking it out at certain times, in specific situations or with specific individuals.

Connection implies acknowledgement of our presence. It also gives us a sense of belonging and feeling valued. It is the lack of "being needed" that is at the root of both these scenarios and which can leave one feeling unsettled and uncomfortable.

It is in these moments that the potential to grow and become truly wise present themselves.

As much as the need to feel valued and needed is a natural one, it is one that will not always be fulfilled. Recognizing and acknowledging that truth is essential to becoming a balanced and mature human being. Although a potentially painful and unpleasant experience, it teaches us that the world doesn't revolve around us. It also offers us great insight into whose eyes we want to feel needed. After all, it's not in all situations where we feel bad if our presence is not acknowledged or our absence not felt - it's specific ones.

So the next time you find yourself in this situation, take a step back from the hurt and dig a little deeper. What you learn from that exploration will be invaluable in your personal journey of self-discovery.