Before You See Yourself In Me – Do You See Me? | Blog
Before You See Yourself In Me – Do You See Me?
I See You. There is something powerful about those three words. To be seen, really seen, transforms us. To be heard, really heard, transforms our conversations and creates a depth of understanding that changes us to the core.
Over the last ten years, I have come to appreciate what’s possible when we see the universal nature, deeper nature, of life. I’ve seen what happens when people realize there is more to who they are. We are not just a compilation of our history, our culture, our education or our talents. There is more to the story.
When we discover that beneath the form of our personality, our intelligence (IQ), our thoughts & ideas, there is an invisible essence, a deeper nature, that informs and fuels our lives, we transcend our pasts, we transcend limited thinking, conflict, self-doubt and access new potential.
Having our own, experiential knowing of this, point us to our true nature, the common core that resides in all of humanity. When we go beyond the world of form, we see, our connectedness, we see our sameness.
However, while seeing this is transformative on so many levels, it is also, not the full truth of who we are. We must not forget our humanity. We are human. We are each uniquely human.
We have both a deeper nature AND a human nature. Our humanness is diverse, messy, beautiful, varied, and full of individual & common experiences.
When we appreciate BOTH our human nature and our deeper nature – our lives are enriched. There is no hierarchy. One is not better than the other. The truth of who we are is BOTH / AND.
When we ignore one over the other, we miss the incredible beauty & richness of our wholeness. When we do not see both in others, we do not fully SEE them.
While seeing, at our core, we are all the same, is a profound realization, it is also profound to sit across from someone and see their unique humanness. To see their world, through their eyes, as best we can; to not insert ourselves in the picture, but to listen, observe and take them in – fully – is a powerful act of love.
Over the last five years, I have had the pleasure of working with a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Specifically, with their management team and staff. There are no words to express how grateful I am for these individuals. Not only have they touched my life, but I am so inspired by the work they do. They have literally saved countless lives by pointing people to the truth of who they are. By helping individuals see their human nature AND their deeper nature, people are transcending addiction and habits that have previously looked like a life sentence. They are healing relationships. They are overcoming past hurts.
My first visit there, I saw what is possible when we sit across from another and listen to understand. When we SEE all of them. When we sit with an individual and see their humanness while also seeing their true nature – a powerful alchemy takes place. To be on the receiving end of that listening and seeing changes us.
Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do I matter? These simple questions wake us up to a common desire we all have – to be seen and understood. Listening to understand, to see someone's world and how they experience it requires a slowing down to the moment. A taking in rather than a pouring out.
Listening to understand, to really see, builds bridges. It restores trust and creates incredible bonds.
This is true whether we are in the boardroom, in our homes or in our communities. When leaders, see and listen to their employees, they are able to create cultures that enhance the lives of their people while serving the client. When family members, go beyond their opinions & reactivity to hear and see the other person, conflict no longer exists.
And in our communities, when we go beyond our ideas of right and wrong & our own experiences to bear witness to another's life, we create powerful change.
In the last few weeks, this has become even more poignant for me. The death of George Floyd affected me deeply. I am not the same. Why then, why that moment in time, why not before? I don't know. All I know is that something happened within me. I don't have all the answers and I have so much more to see and learn. I do not presume that my experience is or should be yours. I share it here in the hopes that it might be helpful.
I was colorblind. Don't get me wrong, I saw color. I just didn't really take in what it means to be Black in America. Because I liked to believe that we are all equal, I did not appreciate that to live as a Black person in America means that, in many ways, the system works against you and favors me. Seeing a Black person’s journey without seeing race is swimming in the shallow end of the pool. It’s surface and does not factor in the human experience of racism.
Being colorblind can sound nice. Previously, I would have said I wanted to point to the innate oneness of us all. The interconnectedness that lies beneath all of life. However, it is not the full story and diminishes the real-world experience of Black Americans. Color exists. Not seeing color means I don’t really see you. My colorblindness denies the lived experience of others.
These last few weeks, many of us are being enlightened, enriched and transformed by listening to the stories, the pain, the anger and the wisdom of Black voices. By doing our best to take in, fully, and to understand, we grow and learn. As we witness, get uncomfortable, and allow someone else's experience to take precedence over our own, our lives are forever changed.
This is how it works. When we understand that we have both a human nature and a deeper nature, we take it all in. We do not deny one over the other. We do not discount someone’s human experience because it does not match our own or because we prefer love over the more complicated feelings of tension, hurt, injustice and ignorance.
To look, to listen, to take in, transforms us. It is a powerful act of love and connection. It becomes the alchemy for real change and a whole new world is made possible.
It takes time, and commitment, but we are made for it.
I encourage you to look to your own life, the people in it and see where you might be able to listen more, understand more. What happens when you take in another person’s journey? When you see the world through their eyes, what do you discover?
“Listening to understand, to see someone's world and how they experience it, requires a taking in rather than a pouring out.”
When we sit across from someone and really take them in – all of them – a profound alchemy takes place.
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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. If you’d like to experience in-depth, robust and transformative mentoring for you and your business check out Barb’s 4-month virtual Beyond Limits Small Group Mentoring Program. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin, Twitter and Insta