There’s an African greeting from home that’s swimming around in my head. At school we learned Zulu and the very first word taught was “Sawubona” which literally translated means “I see you”. It’s an acknowledgement that the person exists. Not just a hello but a way to say I am looking at you to see how you are.
Three small words, “I. See. You”.
With this in my mind I’ve had cause to reflect on those we really see and who really sees us.
Some things I know for sure. The people closest to us often don’t. Perhaps it’s the familiarity of the relationships – the voice that’s become like white noise, instead of one that counts. And while it makes me question whether one should only present a happy sparkly self – I know everyone’s got their shit and inevitably, life goes on, tomorrow’s a new day.
The people I really want to mention are those that aren’t family or necessarily very close friends but those we encounter as part of our every day life. They sometimes take more than a brief second to empathise with us and actually stop and connect. Even though they don’t have to. It’s that “I see you” moment that means everything. Everything. Its the acknowledgement that I heard the stress in your voice when you ordered coffee, I saw the look in your eye when you said hello. It’s a reason to carry on. To have a bit of faith in others. You know who they are, and personally, to me, you know who you are.
So, to those out there who do take the time to shelve their own shit, leave judgement wherever it belongs and look people in the eye and give them a voice – I hope you know the good you do.
It keeps people putting one foot in front of the other.
So perhaps you’ll go into the new week keeping this post in mind and being the person that says Sawubona, or at the very least appreciating the other person that does.