- Do you see me?
- Do you care that I’m here?
- Am I enough for you, or do you need me to be better in some way?
- Can I tell I’m special to you by the way you look at me?
At this time of year as many of us come together to celebrate our beliefs, the need for human connection seems even more acute. Last month, a friend posted on Facebook a link to an article I found especially poignant. I shared the article with my Emotional Intelligence class as we explored how to be in meaningful relationships.
In How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat, Katherine Schafler argues that we are always asking these four questions of everyone in our midst—everyone we have relationships with—from strangers at the grocery store to our romantic partners.
She says these questions are rarely verbalized, and neither are the answers. They are asked unconsciously and answered with actions, not words. Schafler notes that Maya Angelou is the one who first spoke about these four questions (although Schafler doesn’t cite her source). It makes sense though, as Angelou is also credited with saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Think about it. How do you feel when a stranger compliments you while in line at the grocery store? How do you feel when your partner doesn’t look up from their phone when you walk into the room?
The takeaway for me is to remember to be fully present with people and to appreciate them for who they are. All it takes is a split second to “see” someone, and that makes all the difference.
Happy holidays to you and yours!