The Gift of Being Seen by Others | Blog

The Gift of Being Seen by Others | Blog

In Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she shares a manifesto she has for her daughters. Here is a portion of it, “We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other, no matter what. You will always belong here. As you begin your wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly. I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me and I will hold sacred the gift of seeing you, truly, deeply seeing you.”

This week I’m sharing something more personal. I can’t help but share because I have been deeply touched by the unconditional, loving support of others. I have been moved by the amazing ways that people have shown up, given of themselves so generously and mirrored back to me what is possible.

I have always loved collaboration. I have always been drawn to building community. When I look back on my career, I can see this theme throughout. I have always loved bringing people together to lift each other up, to share expertise, insights and to build something together. Maybe it’s in my roots; my DNA.

I come from a big family. I have six brothers and sisters and was raised by a single mother. My memories of my childhood are full of “crowds”.

Eight people crammed in a station wagon with all the camping equipment. Eight plus people in one tent. “Mom, she/he is touching me!” a common complaint. Eight of us around a small round table for dinners. And today with spouses, children and grandchildren, it’s 50+ people in one house for holidays and family vacations. 

As you can imagine, sometimes craziness seemed to prevail. Lots of different personalities, different styles of communicating, different needs, etc. However, in large part due to the strength of my mom, we all knew that beneath the craziness, we had each other. We could rely on one another. And to be honest, even though I craved quiet at times, I loved coming from this big, messy, imperfect, loving, generous family. 

I truly believe that each of us, in our own way, is this amazing, unique, powerful human being AND at the same time, when we are together, when we look at ourselves as a unit, it’s nothing less than magic. Crazy, messy, annoying, rich, meaningful, beautiful, loving magic. Mess and all, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Over the last year, this has become especially relevant in my work. I have had a journey of ups and downs, starts and stops, insecurity, disappointment, connection, love, experimenting with new ideas, falls, slips, shifts and finding my way. I have been on a personal quest of listening to what wants to live through me, come through me, and playing with it. Letting that take the lead more and more. And in the midst of it all, I have been deeply touched by others willingness to show up, share of themselves and reflect back to me my own potential. 

Part of this journey includes teaching, sharing, putting together events with speakers from around the world and starting a new podcast where I get to interview people from different industries and cultures who are all on their own paths.

What I continue to see is the universal truth that I learned from my own family. 

While we are each on our own path and come to this world with our unique flavors, our own wisdom, our personal hopes and desires; there is magic when we come together. There is magic in SEEING others and BEING SEEN by others.

Over the last three weeks, this has become more visible and alive for me. I have had the gift and opportunity of doing a Beyond Limits event in LA with a group of heartfelt, wise, funny and dynamic speakers; attending a conference with over two hundred people that included mentors, teachers, colleagues and friends; then being in New York exploring new opportunity and dreaming about a big vision. And the best of all, getting to know people more intimately. Getting time to really BE with others. In their homes, with their families and hearing their stories, it’s been a huge gift to SEE who they are and what is most precious to them.

But it hasn’t stopped there. It has also been an incredible gift to BE SEEN by them as well.  Their reflections, insights and open hearts have called out more of me. In really wonderful ways. It has helped me go beyond my own little mind and insecurities and step into the deeper truth of who I am. For that I am eternally grateful.

I can get caught up in my thinking, my ideas of my own limitations and can get lost in all my “doing”. Yet, through the love and reflections of others, I wake-up and remember who I really am and what it’s really all about. It reminds me, that together – we are magic. 

One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from Susan Sarandon and the movie, “Shall We Dance”. I know – I wasn’t expecting that either. But when she said it, it went right to my heart. She is speaking about marriage but to me, it is about life. 

“We need a witness to our lives. In a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything–the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things–all of it, all the time, every day. You’re saying, ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’

Being a witness to the lives of others has left a beautiful imprint. Being seen by and having others be a witness to my life, to my hopes and dreams has lifted me and touched me beyond words. It fuels me and gives me courage to show up, play and love more deeply. 

Feeling grateful for it all and for my family. The place where I learned the magic of crowds and community. And for the people that taught me the power of seeing.

“There is magic in SEEING others and in BEING SEEN by others.”

There are limitless gifts in giving others a place; a space; to show up and be fully seen as they are.

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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. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at 



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