Be On the Lookout for These Moments
I have a single, simple message for you today: I want you to be on the lookout for moments when you feel seen, heard, understood and, therefore, honored as a human being. You might think that we humans know how to identify these moments and know to pause and honor them, but, too often, I think we miss them or rush past them.
How do you know when these moments find you? One of the best ways is when you find yourself talking about your thoughts or feelings or even just events that unfolded during your day and someone says, “Wait, is that what you really thought?” Or, “That seems like it affected you more than you’re letting on . . . Did it?”
See, these seemingly simple questions aren’t really simple, at all. They’re reflective of listening with intention, with concern, even with love. They’re questions that are calling you closer—invitations to be more completely known.
I have this one friend who throws his whole body into listening. He delivers those moments, again and again. He has this way of leaning forward, fixing his gaze deliberately on you, then holding his hand out and waving his hand toward his heart. “Come on,” he’s saying. “Tell me more. I want to know.”
Such moments are all-too-rare, in part because people generally are content to get on with things, to skate over things, to live life at a distance from one another. After all, to draw someone out of himself or herself requires being present oneself. OneSELF. And too few of us are comfortable with that. It’s the vulnerability thing. So, we Zoom past one another. We Tweet and fly away. We use Facebook to hide our true faces.
What’s another way that you can notice when someone is honoring you as a human being? It’s when you’re on the ropes, and you open your eyes—maybe just barely, because of the sweat pouring into them—and you notice that person still in your corner. Because most people will get out of the water when you’re bleeding, fearful of sharks. Only the rare person will stay in the water with you, or, even more rare, jump in.
If you haven’t been on the ropes, you will be. It’s the human condition. And I want you to be vigilant for who sticks with you—because that person loves you. And that person can even help you love yourSELF—again, or for the very first time.
If these examples seem like examples of Pain-2-Power, that’s because they are. And that’s worth taking note of, as well. Because we do not learn much about moments of great connection when we are celebrating successes. The people who turn up at victory parties might include one or two who will turn up with all the chips are down, but the vast, vast majority won’t.
So, my friends, take heed of the moments I hope I have shined a bit of light on. Listen more. Lean into them. Luxuriate in them. Just a few of those moments can convince you of the greatness of the human soul—yours, included.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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