That struck me as simple, but incredible. Incredible that a child who has only been part of this world for a few minutes is wired to be so captured by the chance to know and be known. That knowing and recognition brings them to life in the most peaceful of ways.
This all makes me think about the power that recognition has in my own life. Recognition is nice in general, of course, but I am especially hungry for it when I feel I’ve revealed something valuable or vulnerable about myself. When I don’t receive recognition in those moments, I can be described by anything but the words “calm and alert.” The words anxious, down, or angry would fit much better.
The interesting thing is, I think I’ve only been able to find my way out of that icky place through some other form of recognition.
Sometimes, I find that through another comforter – a friend, a therapist, a trusted leader, perhaps. Sometimes through the original person I wanted it from, after a risk to explain my need and ask for it again. Sometimes, I simply receive it from a nurturing place inside of me. Wherever it comes from, I don’t think we can come fully alive or be fully at peace without the knowledge that we are worth knowing. That’s what recognition reminds us of. Yes, we’re worth knowing, even in this moment.
Alison (Allie) Ramsey is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMF #94391, working under the professional supervision of Michelle Harwell, MFT 50732. Allie works with individuals on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, depression, relational challenges, faith integration, divorce, and aging.