Feeling Felt

I heard a therapist by the name of Dr. Dan Siegel speak the other night about finding balance in relationships and other such subjects. One of the big things he said that resonated with me was “feeling felt.”

What “feeling felt” is something that’s more than feeling that someone really heard what you were saying, but that someone really felt how you felt in that moment. It’s another deeper level than just knowing someone heard you and understood you.

It’s a deep sense of connection where you can talk to someone and you feel a connection because you could sense or feel they truly cared and, for at least a moment or more, felt the same pain or emotion you did for whatever you were communicating.

Just this past weekend, I was talking with someone at length about what some of their hobbies really meant to them, why it was important to them, and why they enjoyed it. I was truly interested in learning more about them and their association with it.

Not because I wanted to get something from them. Not because I wanted to have them like me. Not because they were someone special to me.

Just because they were someone who deserved to be heard. I think they felt that I was truly interested in what they were talking about, not just because I wanted to learn and understand their hobby or issues, but because from one person to another, it was important to me that they felt that it was important to me (as another human being) that they felt “felt.” (Mind you, I didn’t even know of the concept until just a couple of days ago.)

There are social predators or narcissists out there—most of us are aware of that painful fact. But there are also a lot of beautiful people, both physically and spiritually, that I’ve met in social situations. People search for a scene that fits them to find kindred spirits, places where people can honestly be themselves and not be scared or afraid of what people will think.

And it’s so easy to reach out and feel felt. It isn’t something that’s necessarily easy to do all the time though.

With some people, you just instantly click with and you feel that connection easily, almost instantly. With others, it’ll take work on your part to get to that stage where you create the space within yourself to really connect with someone else on that level.

You have to be willing to be actively listen to the other person. If you can truly hear what they have to say without judgment, without letting your own thoughts and need to say something keep you from hearing what they have to say, then you’re in a good place.

You have to be willing to put aside your own opinions (much like not judging them) and give them the room to be who they are. That’s not easy for most people to do. It wasn’t easy for me, and I know I don’t do it all the time. I wish I did it more, so it’s something I’m openly and actively trying to improve. And striving for a goal, even if you aren’t quite hitting the mark, will get you closer and closer to achieving your goal. Just keep trying.

Think about it this way: How does it feel when you know someone really heard what you had to say? And if it’s ever happened, how does it feel that someone truly “felt” and connected with you?

Don’t do it to earn their trust. Do it because it’s a beautiful thing to connect with someone on that level. It helps create a level of trust that’s easier to reach with most everyone you come in contact with.

Most of all, remember we are all connected in so many different ways that the reward is establishing another strong friendship with another human being.

And to me, that’s worth it.

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