The Zulu and Natal tribes of Africa offer us a depth in greeting well beyond anything we use in the 1st world. “I see you”.
For better or for worse, we have created a society that values the physical “have’s” over the spiritual nurturing of the self. This has led to a fairly shallow perception of the other, including lack of empathy, and for many, a sense of loneliness and invisibility. Social media certainly has not assisted in alleviating this sad phenomenon.
The “selfie” is a prime example of individuals who simply need to be seen. They may have all of the physical items they want, maybe not, but something in their lives is often missing, and that can be seen through the amount one feels the need to share their “selves” on social media. “I am here!” quite often underlies the constant sharing of the selfie. “Please see me!”
As is 1st world etiquette, we often greet one another with the typical “How are you?” (or some variation of), most of us give a static reply, “I’m fine”, “I’m Ok”. Whether or not they are fine is completely irrelevant, and which more often than not the person offering the greeting simply does not care for an in depth response to how you are actually feeling.
Cue in “I see you”.
Underlying this greeting is that you are here, you are visible, you are alive, you ARE. This, in essence, reflects upon the greeter: I am here, I am visible, I am alive, I AM. Everything that we speak is a reflection of our own selves, and in such, we are validating both ourselves and the other person by sharing this greeting.
Beyond the depth of the greeting itself, “I see you” creates a true and honest interaction in which we are PRESENT with the individual. We are not off in lala land, deep in our own thoughts or worries. We are here, now. I see you.
There is so much to for us to learn from this simple greeting, it enhances our perception of others, creating a deep connection between ourselves and those with whom we come into contact. Empathy and understanding is enhanced because, I see you.
What stronger way to accept comradeship amongst friends and to create a bridge to our “enemies” than to accept their existence? I see you. I cannot negate you, your feelings or your beliefs, because I see you, and you are a reflection of me. I may not agree with you, but I see you, you are here along with me and therefore, I respect you.
Take some time to consider how you greet and converse with others. Are you present, in the moment, actually listening and more so caring about what they have to share with you, or, do you follow the automatic drill, offering your greetings in a less than sincere, yet culturally acceptable manner, lacking the presence deserved by your counterpart in communication?
You would be simply amazed at how much people appreciate your sincerity in a culture when it is a rare jewel to receive that respect of being seen, of not being invisible.
And how does one respond to I see you? Simple enough. “I am here”.