Viewing entries tagged
recognition

Yummm....Tasty Musings

Yummm....Tasty Musings

It wasn’t until I arrived at Yale my freshman year that I really realized that Subway was not a “nice” restaurant.

800px-Subway-restaurant (1).jpg

This memory always makes me smile these days, but really, I think there was something about that surprising “Aha” I had as an 18-year-old that has stayed with me. It captures something of the widely varying perspectives we bring to food, and how those perspectives influence us.

Food is a display of our cultural backgrounds, our socioeconomic status, our values. If you and I share a meal that I love together, and my food signals something different than yours, I think we undergo something sacred, but perhaps quite fragile as well. There is a “getting to know you” going on in those moments. The capacity for both recognition and rejection is high. 

For being the center around which hospitality often orbits, food can be a rather centrifugal force that flings us quite far away from one another. I think the problem is, we can forget to pay attention to just how much is at play when we eat together (or even talk about eating!). The foods we presume to have in common, and our response to that which we don’t have in common, sets the stage for how well we will recognize one another. 

At the same time, what a bond comes from being able to learn we share a favorite dish or restaurant! And how vulnerable and affirming to share a favorite meal of mine with someone who has never tasted it before, knowing they are interested in it because of me. 

What do your favorite food memories say about you?


Allison (Allie) Ramsey is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMF #94391, working under the professional supervision of Michelle Harwell, PsyD, MFT 50732. Allie works with individuals on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, depression, relational challenges, faith integration, divorce, and aging. 

What Does It Mean?

What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to be human?

There are so many ways to answer. Perhaps it has something to do with the ability humans have to create, to be relational, or to have a longing for significance, even eternity.

I think these answers have their merits and limits, but something I deeply believe is that to be human means to have incredible value -- and beyond that -- to be worth having that value recognized by another.

To acknowledge someone’s humanness is a weighty thing. It means I must act when that person is in need. It means I can no longer settle for simplistic, pat answers about their motivations. And it means I must respect their point of view and open myself up to being influenced by it. As soon as we recognize the humanity of another, we must recognize all that their humanity demands of us.

Extending this, when we recognize our own humanity, we must change the way we relate to ourselves. We often focus on the role we should fulfill or the impact we ought to have on the world around us. But this can lead to a valuing of self only to the extent that we are meeting those purposes. Our humanity means we have a value that goes beyond the function we serve. It’s a reason why listening to a piece of music, experiencing nature, or taking time for rest or joy is worthwhile.

Image credit:  Trina Spiller Design

Image credit: Trina Spiller Design


Allison (Allie) Ramsey is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, IMF #94391, working under the professional supervision of Michelle Harwell, PsyD, MFT 50732. Allie works with individuals on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, depression, relational challenges, faith integration, divorce, and aging.

Recognizing Relationships

Recognizing Relationships

Several years ago, I met another mother while playing at the park with my son. It was a chance meeting at the swings. We were pushing our toddlers and casually chatting as parents in the park often do, however, this interaction was different. In a matter of minutes, we connected on several topics and realized we had many things in common. We spoke and laughed as if we had been friends for years. It was a feeling of being known. To this day, she remains one of my closet friends.

When I reflect on my friendship, I can’t help but wonder who I’ve missed connecting with when I wasn’t present? We live in a social media driven, multitasking world where it can be challenging to put down our phones, ignore “to do lists” and just be. The North American culture is so focused on productivity that we don’t always see the cost of being too busy.  If we are not rested, balanced and grounded, then we are less available for connection. In the short term, that might mean missing opportunities to build a stronger sense of community or meeting a new friend. Over time, lack of recognition, validation and connectivity can erode the quality of our relationships.  In order to be recognized, we must be willing to be seen and be open to sharing time. Our attention is a limited resource and therefore valuable.  If we are mindful to invest it wisely then our relationships will profit. 


-Laura MacRae-Serpa, MFTI, CCLS has special interests in supporting children and families navigating adoption and the challenges of chronic illness.

We Are Worth Knowing

We Are Worth Knowing

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Kim Neer, a doula, about the power of recognition. Kim, who has witnessed many births, intrigued me with her description of the first moment that a mother and her baby share: babies almost always grow deeply calm and alert when first looking into their mother’s eyes.

...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.

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.