by Katherine French-Ewing
As I was in the grocery store the other day people-watching (a favorite pastime), I noticed a disturbing trend – heads down, eyes averted, super weary body language, people silently walking around as if under a spell. My heart wept. With your mask on, are you still connecting with others? Making eye contact and smiling with your eyes? Or do you like most of us; go into an auto-pilot ‘find-what-I-need-and-get-out’ mentality? To offer levity and joy, I try to go out of my way to verbally connect with people while shopping or running errands. It’s funny how diverse the responses are – surprise, delight, relief…always positive though. Have you found yourself sleepwalking lately? Phrases I hear frequently from new clients are “I am just trying to survive” and “I feel numb like I don’t have time to feel anything” or “I feel __(fill in the blank) all the time, and it gets worse if I am in public.” A core part of our humanity is to yearn to be seen, heard, and to know that our existence matters. The challenge is affirming these pieces in others even when you feel less than affirmed yourself.
Am I seen?
This is our cry for uniqueness. Ever noticed how some people are making or buying ‘bling’ worthy masks – wearing something that stands out? Perhaps it is because they want to be recognized as someone who brings a special something to the table. When we wear masks, we are slowly being desensitized to the non-verbal signals around us, sometimes resulting in a deep sense of disconnect and division. Connect with those around you, compliment them, or just offer a smile so they know you see them.
Am I heard?
With so many voices being silenced in social media today and so much content being censored, those who had been struggling with believing the truth that their voice matters pre-pandemic easily move into despondent, defeatist mindsets. Find your tribe and offer your voice there in that safe space. If you feel fired up about something, consider what steps you can take to share your opinion where it will be taken seriously and respected. Your story and your perspective matter.
Do I matter?
Your life is significant in ways in which you are not even aware. Do what lights you up and do it with all your heart. We are drawn to those who are walking in step with their values and passions. Perhaps what you are bringing into the light inspires someone else to courageously step out. When you are stuck in a fixation on your life circumstances, widen your scope and seek out those in need. Meet that need the best way you can and watch what happens within your heart and community. Service to others is a wonderful way to bring purpose to your life in a deeply meaningful way. The gifts, passions, and skills you can offer someone are unique and greatly needed.
So, the image of a beautifully still lake comes up. Throw a heavy object into the water and what happens? Think of those ripples as your decisions and thoughts every day. Are they having a positive, neutral, or negative effect on others? Today, I challenge you to gently consider what your ripple effect is in this season. Maybe even journal about it or chat with a trusted friend or family member for feedback. If your effect does not align with your values and the core of who you are, then maybe it is worth re-evaluating how you are showing up in this world. If you had a positive ripple effect on others consistently, how would your life feel and look? Connecting with a professional who is for your growth, who offers a compassionate objective perspective, can be a game-changing experience. Your life matters. Your impact on others matters. Reach out anytime for your free counseling consultation at 303-962-5990.