During Oprah's opening today she repeated these three questions - "Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?" To be honest, I have no idea what she said after that as I was floored. Those three questions stopped me in my tracks as I considered why I had such a physical reaction to them. What was my heart trying to tell me? Isn't this the human condition in a nutshell? I think each of us seeks answers to these questions from the time we are born.
Do You See Me?
Who wants to feel invisible? I think wanting to know we are seen is what drives many to seek their 15 minutes of fame at any cost. Don't believe me - just check out personal YouTube videos and the current offerings on reality TV. Human beings want to know they have a place in the world and have their presence positively acknowledged by others.
My heart goes out to anyone who has to live in the shadows because of a lack of acceptance for who they are - sexual orientation, object of a bully's attentions, defined as a pariah by society, facing familial disapproval for who they are, etc. Everyone has a right to become what their birthright destined them to be. Societal norms should never interfere with someone living authentically.
Then there are those terribly shy or lacking confidence who struggle to step into the spotlight. What can each of us do to make a difference?
Do You Hear Me?
I cannot say this enough - EVERY VOICE MATTERS. It is my privilege to interview people and share their life journeys through articles. Over the last decade I have come to realize it is stories of real people living real lives that will define our generation. Helping someone's voice be heard is an honour and privilege, but there are so many disenfranchised around the world that have no platform to help them share. I cannot do it alone. It takes many people reaching out to make a real difference.
And I truly feel sorrow when a story is lost for any reason. We all collectively lose something very precious. There is a sadness I experience every time someone with an amazing story says no to an interview. I understand, but they have so much to teach others. I try to encourage them to at least write down their story for their family
Every time you step out your front door, try to give one person you do not know the chance to share a little about themselves. Let them know their voice is heard. You never know when you're next to someone who could truly change your life. And don't forget to share your story as well.
Do I Matter?
This last question in particular really makes my heart ache. Do I matter? I have asked myself that very question a few times in my life and answered no. Fortunately I managed to work through those times and come to accept myself and eventually recognize what I have to offer the world. Finding a purpose that makes my heart sing has helped enormously. I know what I am meant to do.
But there are some in low moments that are not able to ride out the grief of feeling they don't matter. Unless they reach out for help or someone realizes it in time, we lose them way too young.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone around the globe