Friday, June 17, 2011


In the 25 years The Oprah Winfrey show has been on the air, Oprah has interviewed over 30,000 people. Oprah remarked on the last episode of her show, she realized that each one of those people wanted the exact same thing: validation. Every single person wanted someone to say, “I hear you. I see you. What you have to say matters to me."

To give that level of validation you have to be fully present with the other person. You have to truly listen and not simply await your chance to talk. As the person is speaking, you must also suspend judgment. If you are making judgments about whether what is being said is right/wrong or good/bad, than it is likely your facial expressions, body language and/or spoken response reflects the same. If the speaker senses this judgment, it is doubtful that he/she believes what being said matters to you.

This level of presence with another human being clearly requires that you have deep compassion for the other. What might the world be like if we could have this level of intimacy with one another? Cannot imagine having compassion with every person; how about those in your inner circle? How might a child feel if each parent offered this level of attention? If spouses and lovers were fully present with each other, how much healthier would are relationship be?

Start with one person and see what happens. You could begin by making the following commitments:

1. I will make direct eye contact while the person is speaking.

2. I will remove all distractions (cell phone, TV, etc.)

3. As the speaker talks, I will reply with sincere, empathetic statements such as “That must make you feel. . . “I can imagine that must be ______ for you.”

Is there any one in your life worthy of this level of attention?