When I check my Facebook page, there is always lots of ‘fluff’ that gets posted, but every so often a real gem appears. This week a friend had posted an article called ‘Four Unconscious Questions We Constantly Ask Each Other’. You may have seen it as it is probably doing the rounds on Facebook. https://upliftconnect.com/four-unconscious-questions-we-constantly-ask-each-other/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=uplift
These four questions rarely get asked with words and when they are answered, it is usually without words as well. I read it in the context of our children and thought it was a really powerful reminder about the way we should be with our children, our significant others, our colleagues and friends.
These four questions are:
- Do you see me?
- Do you care that I’m here?
- Am I enough for you, or do you need me to be better in some way?
- Can I tell that I’m special to you by the way that you look at me?
Sometimes when we are busy or feel under pressure to get a task done, it is easy to not really engage with our child or partner or colleagues. We all do it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our busy day, that taking an extra moment to look up, smile, make eye contact and ask ‘how was your day’ and then wait for a response is just too hard. But that’s all it takes for the person to believe that you do see them and you do care. It doesn’t take huge declarations of love, nor does it take a lot of time. It is often a fleeting but sincere look that means so much. In that moment, that look, all four questions are subconsciously answered.
It seems so simple, such a small thing we can do to answer those questions, just being present and genuinely engaging with the person. What are the consequences if we don’t?
Put yourself in the position of being the person subconsciously asking those questions. If you come home and you don’t seem to be ‘noticed’, by your children or your significant other, it can make you feel quite out of sorts. If it happens to you, you can feel that you might have done something wrong but the reality is, you haven’t, it is the other person being so distracted they are not engaged with you and not making you feel that you are important enough. Not having your unconscious questions answered over a period of time leads to low self-esteem, withdrawal perhaps even depression or else seeking out someone else who does answer those unconscious questions.
For our children, those moments that we do engage with them, that we do answer their unconscious questions, that they know that we see them, care that they are here, they don’t need to be any better because they are already great and that they are special to us, are gold. Their impression of themselves is totally bound up by the way their questions are answered or not answered by the people most special to them, their parents. Those impressions, positive or negative, stay with them forever.
It only takes a moment to be present, to give them a special look but we only have a finite number of ‘moments’ with our children before they leave the nest. It is too late to wish you’d made more of an effort answering all their unconscious questions after they have gone.