need to be seen

Invisible | Why we need to be seen

"Our hearts need to know we are visible to others as acutely as our bodies need food, water and rest." Sophie Sabbage

Sometimes we find ourselves feeling frustrated or frenzied, confused as to why we’re having such a visceral reaction in response to something so seemingly insignificant. Often it’s because an innate need is going unmet. Often it’s the need to be seen.
Being seen, for who we really are, is a phenomenally important piece in the puzzle that makes us whole. To be truly seen – beyond our smiles and disguises masquerading our suffering, beyond our roles and performances, beyond the manicured, caricatured versions of ourselves we present to the world, into our undefended hearts and tapestry of secret tales – offers a potent antidote to shame.
need to be seen
To be seen and wholly accepted for all our parts, not just the shiny ones, patches up our pockets of unbelonging. We no longer reside on the meaningless, divisive outskirts of ‘normal’. There’s a place for our hearts, there’s a place for us all.
Not being seen carries with it so many wounds. A sense of excavation within, a hollowness, a howling. Misunderstood we feel isolated, alone, invisible. We find ourselves voiceless, heart-broken and drenched in shame. If we experience our needs and feelings being silenced or minimised our very flesh and bones feel flimsy, transparent. We question our deepest truths, our conviction transmuted to confusion. 


These excruciating tendrils of shame are universal, we all have them, and they suffocate our life force.

Shame tells us we are broken, defective. The never-ending narratives of our worthlessness play insidiously on a loop, sometimes vociferously, sometimes silently, unconsciously. They may be inaudible but they are there.

Most of us have been rejected or ignored at some time, at the time of a true need, and we erroneously interpret this as a story of our insignificance, our deficiency.

We leap to beliefs of needing to shrink, conceal, contract. We hide ourselves despite desperately wanting to be seen. Lost in the paradox of desiring and fearing the same thing.  


Because if we are seen we might be rejected. The stacks of stories whirring around our minds no longer anecdotal. They become verified. Our shame gremlins watered by the disapproval of others, they multiply. We find ourselves asphyxiated. Stifled by shame.

Because if we are seen, we might be loved. We may just experience the hallowed treasure of two souls nodding together, a passageway between people of reparative emotion, the elusive cherishment of our essence.

Being seen is restorative. regenerative. With the dismantling of our armour comes the dissolution of shame. We no longer sense the ache of separateness, solitude, selves disembodied. We are souls connected. Spirit breathes into our bones, we are no longer paper dolls. We are human.

the need to be seen


To be seen is to be celebrated with silence or the graceful cascade of words. To be held in our wholeness. Dishevelled. Bedraggled. In disarray.

It is to be known, to be unfixed and unresolved. Quirks and flaws and all. It is eyes on our humanness, a beholding of our hearts. It is bearing witness to the depths of who we are. Our triumphs and our struggles.

These moments often met with inexplicable tears. The relief and the release an exquisite reprieve. 

If you’ve ever felt the loneliness of not being seen, the frustration of not being heard, the despondency or fury it can invoke, you get a sense of how central to our survival it really is.


We bring to our relationships and interactions a complicated cocktail of unconscious agendas, feelings and stories which often present a barrier to see the other. We see them through our own lens, our own experiences and it clouds our vision.

We bring with us a plethora of ideas, suggestions and advice – rooted in our own perspective and desires – which are so often uninvited and unwanted. We can’t really see and we can’t be seen. Our self-protective bubbles bumping into each other, no one at fault. Occasionally the bubbles burst and the beauty is felt in our bones.


How boldly can we tread the line of what we desire and what we fear? If we’re exhausted from feeling invisible do we dare open up our origamied hearts, unfold our edges? Can we invite in the vision of others?

Sometimes we find ourselves in an abyss, no eyes to see us. Our surroundings a cyclone, people bereft. So we seek the medicine of circles, a space to be seen. 

In circle we bear witness to ourselves and each other. We sense the understanding of our souls in knowing eyes and silent lips. We sink into an exhale. Intrepidly together we lean into the adventure of unmasking. Our collective unveiling reveal our souls to sigh and sing and celebrate. We are seen.

online women's circle
"You shared a piece of yourself and I saw myself in it, a piece I had buried once when I thought it was unbecoming. I left it there, locked away and out of sight and nearly forgot it was there. I thought it was ugly, awful, awkward at best, but the way you shared made me wonder if I had been wrong... For the first time wondered if I really needed to hide it. For the first time, I thought that maybe I could share it too." ~ Hannah Ro

If you’re yearning to be seen, for the support and wisdom of others who truly see you, The Soul Library offers this space. New members always welcome.

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