Do you ever feel like you haven’t been heard, seen, or understood? It’s a natural human desire to want recognition and validation from others. But what happens when we don’t receive the care and appreciation we need? It often leads to feelings of frustration and judgement which feed into sadness, grief and loss.
The more we look to find it in others, the more resentful we become. Looking outwards when it isn’t forthcoming only moves us further away from where that care can truly be found. Switching tact to approaching these needs differently, by taking a more mindful approach can be more wholesome and healing at times like this.
We first and foremost need more care and kindness when this happens, and so many of us are only used to getting that care from someone else, yet there’s a friend within we keep refusing to meet – our own selves. It reminds me of the phrase I used to use a lot: “Everyone’s looking for a way out, when all we really need is a way”. When we realise we’re looking ‘out’, that’s the time to come inwards.
Firstly, recognising the feelings of hurt around this helps. If we don’t allow ourselves to simply recognise the hurt, we continue to get caught up in directing our frustrations outwards. When we recognise hurt within us, it helps to allow and direct some compassion inwards without firing judgements towards others.
Healing always starts from the inside, external band-aids never work, so when it comes to returning inwards, reconnecting with nature really helps too, simply because everything in nature is a mirror to our own inner lives.
Something I did last week when we gathered as a group in the local National Peak District for a mindful walk, addressed what I’m sharing here…
We came to the tranquillity of the still lake flanked by many trees. I invited people to look more closely at the unfolding leaves, the buds only just opening. Their one true purpose is to grow, serve and they may or may not be witnessed. They are utterly beautiful, when we look more closely, life takes on more meaning.
I see it as my responsibility to witness their unfolding and appreciate it. Looking closely takes me out of my own head and away from what’s not fair to seeing more deeply creation in all its simplicity and its complexity which reconnects me with all that really matters. Appreciating makes me feel more alive and more paradoxically more needed and valued.
I’ve grown to see interest in my natural surroundings as a ‘relationship’ to nurture. As I find solace in it, it seems to reciprocate and hold me. I see this as a very real thing. So, on this walk and by the lake, I invited people to look more closely at the budding branches and witness the leaves unfolding, to take much longer than they usually would. Witness the buds in their transition, their birth into spring. To really be here acknowledging them, their time, their moment of life.
I then invited them to find something that would float on the lake.
After a while we gathered at the lake’s edge, having given to nature by seeing, feeling and holding it. Now, we would take time to allow nature itself to witness us. I explained that this little float would hold the image of whatever qualities we have and give that often go unrecognised. We all want to be understood, seen, heard and held, to be honoured, so without needing to say it out loud, we just imagined our qualities and all the ways in which we serve, on our little floats.
We then gently lowered our floats onto the surface of the water and nature watched and held, as did each of us.
It was a lovely thing to do for ourselves. Often, that may be all that’s needed, to just do it for ourselves, yet we don’t take time to honour how we feel enough. A mindful practice can encourage and offer us the time and space needed to do this.
Ritual is a lost art and practice which brings more meaning to aspects of our lives that need attention. The more opportunities we can respond to in which we can carve out just a little bit of time for ourselves, must be taken. It means we can process and ponder all that needs to be witnessed within us for the purpose of healing and holding ourselves. The more we can do this, the more we can become who we truly are, nurturing all those qualities that help us give and sustain others.
We might also remember that our perceptions of not being seen, recognised or appreciated are just that; ‘perceptions’. We might consider nature witnessing our giving as insignificant, in the same way we forget the ripple effect of our giving in service or to each other. No witnessing of your gifts whether by nature or seemingly unimportant others is ever insignificant or unseen. Your love and your care will be felt whether you know it is or whether you don’t. Keep giving and loving where that care is needed, knowing in your heart that somewhere, somehow it is felt and recognised.