sawa bona


The way in which we say “Hello, how are you?” lacks a certain depth. Often I am greeted in an automatic, rather perfunctory way and the person asking isn’t really paying attention to my response.

It was asked to be polite, to make small talk as such. The boring stuff. There certainly was no depth in the question and no commitment in wanting to really know.

Often when in such situations, I find myself equally in an automatic mode when responding. I often say ‘Yeah, I’m not too bad or I’m fine thank you” when in reality I may not be. I may be feeling extremely shitty that day, bruised or bone-tired. Now I’m not only forced to be some android and respond in a similar robotic fashion but I have to pretend to smile too when responding! Way too much energy. And I’ve not even had breakfast yet………..!

Sometimes I wished people would only ask me how I am if they really want to know. That’s what I do. I don’t ask if I’m not interested. I would just say hello and that too if you’re lucky, or nod in acknowledgement! No point in pretending I think, I’m not part of that sheeple-behaviour and . I’m certainly not interested in assuming a standard and predictable manner in approach or in retort.

What I do want (and expect) from my relationships is honesty, sincerity, integrity, of keeping it Real!

I’m OK with discomfort. I don’t need a response that keeps me comfortable nor requiring further effort or engagement on my part.

Besides I’d know anyway if you were lying in your response to me. My intuition is spot-on!

Yesterday I was pleasantly reminded of tribes in South Africa where the people greet one another daily by saying “Sawa bona”, which literally means “I see you.” Isn’t that lovely? I SEE YOU. I see you. I see YOU.

The response is “Sikhona” which means “I am here”.

This exchange is important and to me a very meaningful one. This exchange certainly HAS depth. It denotes that when you ‘see’ me, you bring me into existence. And when you ‘see’ me you may also see that I am bruised and bone-tired. You will see this because you are wanting to see, you are looking and you want to know. You want to know because you really do care about me. You care deeply about our encounter for you too want to be seen for who you are.

It’s so simple. And this is what we all need. It is a powerful intrinsic human need for validation; a need we all share. It is far more humane and vital. It supports our wellbeing and our sense of belonging.

So from my heart to yours, Sawa Bona.



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I'm a woman living in London and this blog captures what lands within my sight and connects with my psyche. I expect it to evolve naturally. It is a place I shall visit from time to time and where things that I am touched by deeply will find a soft place to land. As a psychotherapist and a continuing student, most of the articles you shall find here will somehow, in some way, be related to therapy and well-being. I love comments, so feel free to add yours, whenever and however. I wish you well.

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