Why we all need to be seen and understood. (And a viral blog post that may make you feel just that.)

I woke up far too early this morning, so I did what you do in those situations and started scrolling around the internet. Fortunately for me, there was great goodness to be found in the form of this blog post by Canadian woman (mother/blogger) Krista O'Reilly-Davi-Digui, which has gone viral. It's called What if all I want is a mediocre life? and it struck some chords with me. I'd say it's striking a lot of chords since it's sweeping the world this week. Have a read if you haven't already.

Anyway, one reason I think this post is so popular is because it makes its readers (mostly women, I'd say) feel like they're being SEEN and UNDERSTOOD: two basic human needs.

Both Mazlow and his famous hierarchy of needs and Tony Robbins and his six human needs identify what makes humans tick. Mazlow would say our need to be seen and understood would fall into the need for belongingness and love (the third in the hierarchy after basic needs like food, water, shelter and safety are sorted). In Tony's six human needs, the needs significance, and love/connection speak to the need to be seen, heard and understood. In this article about Tony Robbin's six human needs, significance is described like this:  

As we balance the forces of certainty and variety in our life and step out into the world, the next human need is to be seen and validated for who we are and what we do. The need for significance tells us that we do not exist in isolation but as part of a greater whole, and to be an effective part of that whole we need to know that we are playing our part – and being honored for that expression. Satisfying our need for significance is part of creating our sense of identity in the world ... 

Of love/connection, the article says:

We each have a need to love and be loved by others. We each have a need to belong. Central to our experience of fulfillment in life is to authentically love and make deep connections with other living beings. 

You can read more on the complete set of six needs here or here (and I will write a blog post on why the order of importance you choose to place on the six human needs in your own life has big consequences). 

Anyway, I think this need for real connection (being seen and understood) is one reason blogs are so popular among women. It's that shared sense of being in the trenches together, whether those trenches are in the workforce or the home or both. With kids or without. I see you. I hear you. I get it.  

And this morning, Krista O'Reilly-Davi-Digui's piece made me feel like that. It also reminded me of a blog post I wrote for my old blog, Stop catching the cat. It's called, Can you see yourself in her? I wrote it because I wanted my readers to know I got it. I got them. We're all the same even though we're different.

Here's the post: 

Can you see yourself in her?

She just feels so overwhelmed, so pulled in so many directions. Sometimes her ears literally hurt at the slightest sound. She feels so guilty at this admission, but it is true. She cannot bear to give any more of herself another second. She cannot bear to hear another request, help another person, do another job on her interminable list.

She yearns for peace. Her soul is crying out for respite. She is exhausted, but not in the everyday way of feeling tired after a late night, but in the fatigued-to-her-very-core kind of way. She desperately needs rest. She desperately needs the world to slow down, she desperately needs to close her eyes and her mind and perhaps even her heart for a few minutes, an hour, a day … Dare she ask for a week?

But she feels she can’t stop.

There are people who need her. School lunches to pack, after-school sport to attend, bosses to please, clients to serve, laundry to wash, folding to put away—just like there are every day. And she feels a little cross at herself for giving away her power to other people (as they say), for not prioritising herself. But it feels so hard to find the time. She feels she’s got such a deficit of downtime that she’s afraid to even start to unwind; afraid she won’t ever want to stop.

She also knows, deep down inside, that her lack of self-care comes from a big lack of self-love. She is starting to feel the stirring in her soul for more, for some understanding of her innermost needs and desires, but she isn’t sure where to start. She has always been into self-help but she sometimes abandons the books or articles part-way through because she is too tired and too busy to read the tips and tricks let alone implement them. And soon enough they too are lost in the noise of everyday life.

She needs real ways to be calmer in the world. Ways to slow down, to think of herself, to slot herself into her busy schedule. She needs reminders. She needs knowledge. She needs understanding. She needs someone to tell her what to do and to make her feel better. She needs a hug. A coffee. And a long deep breath. She desperately needs to know she is not the only one feeling this way.

She desperately needs to find some balance.

A sweet spot in her life for herself.

The calm among the chaos.


Do you recognise yourself in her? A little? A lot? Or so much that you think she is you?

I hear you.

I understand.


Or maybe you don’t recognise yourself in her at all? Maybe your life looks decidedly different? Maybe you don’t have a hectic outer world, but rather a heckling inner world. Maybe your desperate need is to calm the chaos in your own mind: your manic monkey mind, always swinging from one thought to another like the tangled branches of an overgrown forest. Bickering with you here, reminding you of dangers there, worrying you with what-ifs on its way through. It’s entangling you, enraging you, exhausting you with its scaremongering wails: You will fail! Change is bad! She won’t like you! He will leave you! You are too fat!You are too lazy! You won’t make it! It was your fault! If only you’d been better! You’re a failure! You’ll be all alone! You’ll die!

It’s the fear that gets you reeling and roiling. You’re fearing change, fearing loss, fearing rejection, fearing fear and life itself.

It’s got your wrung-out and uptight.

It’s got you begging for calm among the chaos too.

I hear you.

I understand.

Believe me.





Natalie Bartley