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Thread: feeling heard and seen

  1. #1
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    feeling heard and seen

    I had some good experiences of being heard and seen yesterday. I spent the rest of the evening feeling a little weepy (not a bad thing).

    I have been part of a group that does weekly calls. I am one of the facilitators. Lately (as in months) I have not had people call in, so I sit there for 15-20 minutes with the cheesy music and hang up. I have also not been good about promoting it, we each promote our own. It is hard when I am also feeling a lack of confidence in my ability to write or focus. I was on a board meeting call and we were talking through the future of these calls and explaining them to the members who didn't know about them. One person said that it must be excruciating to keep doing this and have no one call. The last time I had a caller she said that she wouldn't have called if she knew it was going to be so small.

    Then I talked to my best local friend about random stuff, and shared this with her. I made it clear that not getting callers was not something I held her or anyone else at fault for, it simply was. A lot like the local sitting group that ended, we just didn't have people. I guess I always thought that I would do a good enough job to attract people. I shared that not one local person has called in, ever, in the years I have been part of it. I am ready to take a break from leading calls at this point. She responded in a heartfelt way that she was sorry she had not been more supportive. It felt very good, it has been super hard and I just keep putting a cheerful face on it. She and others know that I have an aspiration to be a buddhist teacher and they encourage, but still I don't think that my friends see me that way.

    I actually have a topic for tomorrow and I put it up on facebook, putting a little out there. (the topic is 'don't take your faults so personally")

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    Perhaps waiting for someone to call in is like waiting for a fish to bite.

    I go fishing (from a favorite spot on a riverbank). The past 3 times I had a total of two bluegills bite. I released them, partly because they are small, and partly because I believe they are trying to defend their eggs, rather than to eat my Rapala Shad Rap lure.

    I shrug (not rally sad) about the minimal fish response to my spin-casting. I think this is because I choose a beautiful time and place in which to try. The sun is setting, the birds are roosting for the night, and of course the river is flowing through its verdant valley.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Some folks where I work talk about the importance of "feeling seen" and "feeling heard."
    I have no idea what they are talking about.

    In the social work classes I took a few years ago, the profs and students would also use these phrases. I remember wondering: "What are they even talking about?"

  4. #4
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    I’ve noticed not being seen or heard since turning 50. People are quicker to talk over me or interrupt me or ignore me and then repeat my idea later as if it’s their own. And I’m Caucasian and a manager. Imagine if I were black and not in a position of authority, in addition to being an older woman.

    It’s a real thing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    UL, empathy and empathic responses are the way to make another feel as 'seen and heard'. Simply shutting one's mouth, maintaining eye contact and nodding in support as another is sharing something or a feeling that the other believes is important is being seen and heard. It is forgetting about one's self and giving one's attention and quietly listening to another. Your opinion is irrelevant, if you agree with what the other is saying is unimportant, it is not an opportunity for debate. It is simply being there and listening with understanding for another. It is feeling safe in sharing deeply felt emotions.

    Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
    synonyms: affinity with, rapport with, sympathy with, understanding of, sensitivity toward, sensibility to, identification with, awareness of, fellowship with, fellow feeling for, like-mindedness, togetherness, closeness to; informalchemistry
    "what is really important about learning a language is learning empathy for another culture"


    Empathy vs. Sympathy. Empathy is the ability to experience the feelings of another person. It goes beyond sympathy, which is caring and understanding for the suffering of others. Both words are used similarly and often interchangeably (incorrectly so) but differ subtly in their emotional meaning.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    What I wonder is this:

    Is there a difference between feeling seen/heard and being seen/heard?

    For instance, a few years ago my department had a guest speaker for a team meeting. He worked for some consulting company that was given a big contract by the university. The son of one of the university's executives was a big wig at the company. Shocker! Right? LOL

    Anyway, this consultant was consulting us about "change" and how people should deal with it. This was during a disastrous "re-org."

    He said: "It is important to make people feel like they are seen and heard. For instance, before or during a big change managers can send out an email survey to check people's opinions on the change. Even if management has no intention of doing anything with it, this makes people feel heard and seen."

    I shit you not. He said this.

    And I also shit you not on this: He then, right after that, lectured us on the importance of being authentic during times of change.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    What I wonder is this:

    Is there a difference between feeling seen/heard and being seen/heard?

    For instance, a few years ago my department had a guest speaker for a team meeting. He worked for some consulting company that was given a big contract by the university. The son of one of the university's executives was a big wig at the company. Shocker! Right? LOL

    Anyway, this consultant was consulting us about "change" and how people should deal with it. This was during a disastrous "re-org."

    He said: "It is important to make people feel like they are seen and heard. For instance, before or during a big change managers can send out an email survey to check people's opinions on the change. Even if management has no intention of doing anything with it, this makes people feel heard and seen."

    I shit you not. He said this.

    And I also shit you not on this: He then, right after that, lectured us on the importance of being authentic during times of change.
    As a manager, I will say that it was always tricky to negotiate the communication process of change, where many employees wouldn't like many aspects of the change and I often heard the refrain “they never ask us about anything” (where “they” is upper management.)

    I sat in too many meetings about re-orgs and changes to know there was no concern about employee input, yet our employees had little idea about the endless discussion of operations and effect on employees. So it was my job to communicate the sense of those meetings without taking up hours of work time. And the reality is that 90% of the time, any concern voiced by employees in the guise of “have you thought about this consequence?” was not new. But the 10% could be useful to management.

    The business about feeling seen/heard vs actually being seen/heard is just another illustration of feelings are not facts. But the feelings aspect of human management must be acknowledged and respected. And planned for.

  8. #8
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    In this case, feeling is when I shared and my friend and others didn't launch into how I could market better and work on my writing or presentation skills. Instead they just listened while I shared and mirrored some thing back. Phrases like 'that does sound hard' were better than 'FB marketing is inefficient".

    Being heard and seen is when the head of our organization asked when our next small meeting was and said we should talk about the impact of not having callers. Also how to get a clear focus of what we want to do after years of doing calls and not having a clear purpose. With my friend it could be promoting my FB advertising or coming to a call, whatever she is able to reasonably do.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Girl View Post
    In this case, feeling is when I shared and my friend and others didn't launch into how I could market better and work on my writing or presentation skills. Instead they just listened while I shared and mirrored some thing back. Phrases like 'that does sound hard' were better than 'FB marketing is inefficient".
    So it is like telling someone things they prefer to hear? I do that often for people. I did notice that it usually improves their mood.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    So it is like telling someone things they prefer to hear? I do that often for people. I did notice that it usually improves their mood.
    it actually doesn't need to be any words, and i think it is missing the point to say you are telling someone what they want to hear. It is about listening and reflecting back something you hear instead of saying something you think about it.

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