I Just Want to be Seen
Part of the reason I wanted to open up about my journey, including going to therapy, is because I want to destigmatize the inherent need we all have to be seen. We want it to be known that we are here, that we are alive, that we have a mind that thinks and a heart that feels. We all want to be understood but for whatever reason, we have been convinced that wanting acknowledgment is bad. We feel that if we want to be seen then there must be something wrong within us. We must be feeding our ego and are arrogant, vain, or any of those parallel adjectives.
Maslow’s hierarchy is my favorite illustration of our basic human needs. One of those needs is social belonging, which basically asserts that we need to be validated through intimacy and relationships with other human beings. See guys, it’s our biological makeup that causes us to want to know we matter to the people around us. It’s not just you, it’s all of us! Because we are social beings, we have a natural desire to be liked and accepted by various groups; not limited to family, friends, colleagues, etc. This very fact is another reason why I advocate for therapy.
Therapy gives you an opportunity to simply be seen and heard. The best part is there’s no judgment! You don’t have to color your stories for your therapist’s consumption like you might with a friend. A therapist is that friend we owe absolutely nothing to. You don’t have to care about their birthday or likes and pet peeves. Besides the therapist’s requirement to be as objective as possible, they kind of give you a no-strings-attached friendship. She or he just listens to you and gives their best logical retort, or not. Your therapist provides you with the one-sided friendship that we all need from time to time. I am not an expert on therapy, obviously, but I can say that going to therapy has helped me become more comfortable with sharing the ways in which I want to be seen by the people I love and value. How do you want to be seen?