See to Be Seen
“Connections with other people affect not only the quality of our lives but also our survival.” Dean Ornish
When I was little I always felt invisible. I always hoped that maybe if I had enough friends, or I had some kind of cool superpower (as silly as that sounds) people would notice me. Last week something amazing and beautiful happened and I was reminded that I already know how to get noticed and it is a superpower that we can all have.
As I was leaving my building, I saw a maintenance man with a wrench walking into the building. It was Monday and I love my Mondays. I love my Tuesdays, I love every day. But this guy clearly was not vibing with the day and I got this itch that could only be satisfied by making someone else feel special. So as he was walking out, I looked at him and said,”Hey man, Happy Monday!”
He looked a bit surprised and confused. He tapped his shoulder with his wrench and then pointed the wrench at me and said “Yeah, Happy Monday to you too.” Then he walked away. Having a wrench pointed at me was a little odd but hey he responded so I went with it.
On Tuesday I saw him again. I was excited. Two days in a row that I get to wish him a great day. He was talking to one of the security guards and I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt but again I had this itch. So I walked up to them, smiled broadly and interrupted their conversation with “Hey man it’s Tuesday! Happy Tuesday!”
Startled once again, the maintenance guy said “Yeah,Happy Tuesday!”
The security guy knows me and explained “Oh that’s just Aleks.” He turned to me, smiled and said “Go teach your classes! We’re talking.” Smiling even more than before, I dutifully walked away. On Wednesday I saw the maintenance guy again and wished him a Happy Wednesday. After three days, he was now smiling as much as I was as he returned my greeting.
On Thursday I saw him again. Thursdays are one of my more exhausting days. I teach Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so by Thursday I need to rest and recover a bit. My energy was a bit low, but as I walked into the elevator the maintenance guy was there along with the property manager. Before I could even wish him a Happy Thursday, he noticed me and said “Hey, you’re the Happy Monday guy!” He elbowed the property manager and said “I love this guy. Every time he sees me, he wishes me a great day.”
I just smiled. I was feeling seen where just a moment before I felt invisible and tired. “Dude, thank you so much!”
The maintenance guy was grinning and said “Of course, man. You’re welcome.”
As we were on our way down, I noticed that the maintenance guy was covered in tattoos and out of curiosity I asked him what’s your most important tattoo? And he showed me his left arm and pointed to a tattoo that said: “Never Forget You’re Not Alone”
I got so emotional. I looked at both of them as I showed them my tattoo that says “Belong”, and said “Man, you don’t know how much that means to me.”
The maintenance guy and I both smiled and the property manager looked confused and kind of eased his way to the corner of the elevator feeling uncomfortable. So I looked at the property manager and gave him a massive hug and said “You belong as well.” I walked out of the elevator feeling special, feeling seen.
I have realized that most of my life when I felt invisible, I was always waiting for someone to notice me. I didn’t realize the payment that’s required. If you don’t want to feel invisible, you first have to go out into the world and notice others. See everyone – your Uber driver, the barista, your colleague. See people to be seen.
And this is the most beautiful thing. When you go to the movies you collect scene points. You pay for a movie, you pay for snacks and you receive scene points. Collect enough scene points and you are rewarded with a free movie or free snacks. Life is like that. You have to pay first and get rewarded later. Notice others and you will be noticed.
It can start with something as simple as a hello or Happy Monday. My superpower is not what I imagined it would be when I was a kid, but it’s still pretty great. I notice people and in turn they notice me. That’s all it takes. We all want to be noticed. Whether we are introverted or extroverted, everyone wants to be seen. That’s what I wished for as a kid. All it took for me to be seen on Thursday was for me to notice someone for five seconds on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
So this week go into the world and collect your scene points because the reward is tenfold. I love you guys.
Want to deepen all the new relationships you will create? Click on this article: How To Make Friends to learn more.
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