Do you see me? Do you really “see” me?
Many people look, but don’t see, glance with a blind eye, or cast looks that miss the mark. Human beings need to be “seen,” and this seeing takes many forms.
I’m particularly interested in what it means to see someone for who they are as a person. Research has shown that about 30 percent of the North American population primarily desires to be recognized for who they are as a person – to know that “you like me for me.”
Recognition of personhood means to notice, appreciate, accept and value the person for who they are, no strings attached. Examples might be:
“I appreciate you.”
“It’s OK to take care of you.”
“I love you.”
“Your feelings matter to me.”
Here are some common pitfalls when recognizing personhood:
Here, the recognition is given, but it’s focused on performance, work or other behavior and sends the message, “you are only valuable because of what you do.”
“I so appreciate your hard work.”
“I love you because you always keep the house clean.”
Hearing that, I may wonder what other conditions are attached: “What happens if I don’t work hard, or the house is messy some days?”
This pitfall happens when you evaluate or put yourself in the position of judging a person’s worth, sending the implicit message that they are OK because you say so.
“I believe your work is excellent.”
“You deserve a break.”
If recognition of person is important to me, I may infer that I am unconditionally worthy as a person, but that I am worthy in your judgment.
People who crave recognition of person are usually compassionate, sensitive and warm by nature, seek harmony and care deeply about others. They give of themselves because of their big hearts and accept others unconditionally. We encourage you to fill their tanks with authentic recognition of person absent of judgment and conditions. Doing this will bring out their best selves, build trust and improve performance.