There are three things that we should always demand in our lives from the people who matter.
To be seen.
To be heard.
To be valued.
I think it is as simple as that. I have a close friend and sometimes when I vent to her, she says that to me. She says, “I see you and I hear you.” It makes my eyes fill with tears every single time. Sometimes she doesn’t even need to respond with advice. I know that when she says that to me, she truly gets it and I immediately feel validated.
Parents are in impossible positions sometimes to be seen and heard. We have the responsibilities of taking care of the children, which comes first and foremost. We have the constraints of schedules, financial obligations, and to be honest, not enough time to truly talk to our friends, our family and even to each other. Someone little is always screaming in our ears telling us to “GET ME A SNACK!”
Sometimes our true selves are hiding behind the curtain. We are peeking around it, hoping that the audience will see us in the proper light, but the truth is, most of the time they don’t. So, we need to look to the side of the stage, where our family sits and they will nod their heads and say to us, “we see you,” and you are doing great and we love you exactly as you are.
To be seen. By being seen, we are validating the fact that we are humans with needs and dreams, hopes and desires. We can’t live our lives solely for our children. We must also live for ourselves. Do me a favor and look at your spouse tonight and tell them this, “I see you.” I see how hard you are working. I see that it isn’t easy. I see that you need a break. I see you and you are not alone. Turn to your children and in a different way, tell them you see them. “I see that going back to school is hard, but you are doing it with ease. I see that and I give you credit.”
To be heard. When they speak, listen. Listen to them when they are struggling. Listen to them when they have a problem, as little or as big as it is. And when it is big, listen with both ears and wait to comment. Let them finish. Listen to what they are saying between the words. And when they are finished, tell them this, “I hear you.” Tell this to your spouse and to your children. My middle girl came up to me to tell me someone said something a little unkind to her and I said that to her, “I hear you. That wasn’t nice. I can understand why that hurts your feelings.”
To be valued. This, to me is a combination of the two. I see you. I hear you. And I value what you do, whatever it is and as big and as small as it is. You are important to this family. Without you, it wouldn’t work. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are. You are valued, whether you, as a parent, are trudging into the city or staying home with your children. What you do, is important. What you do, is valued. What you do, as little as it might seem sometimes, is something big. It completes the circle. It makes it all work.
I hope that you are seen, heard and valued. I hope you can give that to your family. And if you don’t feel it, speak up. And in between the ‘adulting’ and the parenting and grinding it out, I hope you have something that you can call your own. That just makes it all, a little bit easier.
And I’m here to tell you this. I see you. I hear you. And I value you.
Shoot me an email if you need to vent.
Happy back to school. I hope everything went smoothly.