I saw the movie Avatar with my father a few weeks ago. I usually don’t like movies that get all the accolades, but this one was even better than the hype! One of the aspects of the movie that I really liked concerned the Avatar people and how they related to each other. They would greet each other with the phrase, “I see you.”
At first glance this didn’t seem like a big deal, but during the movie it was explained that the phrase doesn’t just mean that they physically saw each other, but they saw the person. They saw who they are; their character, their talents, their weaknesses, the whole package.
The phrase wasn’t said with a condescending tone, but with acceptance and respect. They may not always agree with each other, but they understood each other and accepted one another. I thought to myself, “Wow! Who wouldn’t want someone to say that to them!”
How amazing would it be to hear the people around us greet us in such a way that it told us that they not only acknowledge our presence, but our personhood. To be seen in such a way that you felt understood and accepted. That even though they may not agree with you on some things, that they respect your right to have those opinions and make those decisions.
Because we don’t usually acknowledge the people around us in this manner most people walk around thinking that they have to hide who they are, or at least certain aspects, from others. Most people at some level think, “If they really knew me they might not like me.” They’ve proven it by telling us things we have done to hurt them, or maybe they’ve made fun of us or talked about us behind our backs.
What’s truly sad is that most spouses don’t feel that they are truly “seen” by their mates. They exist around each other more than they live with each other. Many couples spend much of their energy trying not to upset one another. Learning to understand each other, let alone accepting each other is way on the back burner if it’s on the radar at all.
What about our children? Do they believe that we “see” them? Or do they think we are just trying to control them, judge them, or do we simply ignore them? Do you think they feel understood and accepted?
Take some time this week to really see your family. Tell them all the wonderful things about them; their character traits, their talents, their gifts. You can even let them know that you see some of their fears, but make sure you leave the conversation with them knowing that you accept them!
You might need to write some things down and think about it before approaching them. It might even seem awkward to say those things to them. I promise you, the more you say them the less awkward it will seem. But don’t let that feeling of awkwardness stop you, because if there is one thing everyone desires, it’s to truly be seen!