Building the belief that you matter starts early … like when you skin your knee and your mom kisses it “all better,” or when you color a picture that is hung on the front of the refrigerator, or you get to choose a special meal to be made for the family on your birthday. Perhaps it’s a kind little handwritten note someone placed inside your lunchbox or a card that you receive in the mail for no reason at all other than “just because…..” It happens when you are looked in the eyes with compassion and care when you speak, and when someone notices a pleasant change to your appearance, a milestone achieved in your life, or even that your mood has shifted.
Examples like these can help us feel as though we are important, that we are visible, that we are significant enough for someone to take notice of us or do something that makes us feel special. And the feedback loop on how much value you believe that you have continues on through adolescence and adulthood, as if there is a lifelong score being kept with tallies for “I matter” on one side and “I feel like I don’t matter” on the other.
Who are the people in your life that make you feel visible or important or special, who help you believe that you matter? Spend time with them, perhaps more than you do presently. After all, you do matter.