Beverly Clark: We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

– “Shall we Dance” (2004)

Saw this movie back in 2005. And the quote stuck in my head since.
To have someone witness your life. The ups and downs of everyday.
To share a history with someone.
To have someone know you.
To have someone witness your life.

Maybe that’s why we love the digital world, facebook, twitter and blogs. It’s the easiest way to leave a trace. A timestamp, that I’m here, and this is what I think, what I feel, who I am. The one click “like” button – instant approval.

Maybe it’s not just about a witness, but an approver.  To be acknowledged. To be told – You’re worthwhile. You’re worth my while.

We seek approval. Especially from those closest to us.

I know I do. Constantly. Each time I get ready to go out. Each time I cook, or make something. At work, each time I put out a fire, or figure out a tricky problem. Or juggle a hectic schedule.

And when it’s not forthcoming, due to whatever reasons… I feel bad.

It pulls me down. Messes up my day. I get mad at the other person.

For no real fault of theirs.. well.. other than the failure to pep me up, the way I want.

It’s my need.

Not theirs.

It’s my problem if they dont meet it.

So …. I’m trying an experiment. Can I give up this need?

The need for external acknowledgement, approval, acceptance.

Can I take back control of my life, my moods, from the rest of the world?

Can I love and accept myself enough, to not seek it from the external world?


4 thoughts on “Witness

  1. Very well written Richa! I tend to muse on the same from time to time. Its very ambitious to want to give it up though coz that ll make you yourself the sole motivator for every little thing you do.
    Wont there be this little voice still nagging you from time to time and asking you if any one really notices, anyone really cares apart from you??
    From my experience, not many people care to acknowledge where it is due unless they have to.
    I dont know if I am that strong yet to not bother. But goodluck with your experiment :)

  2. I relate to this completely, at least the need for feedback and acknowledgement. I wouldn’t stretch this to craving acceptance and approval really because from what I have read, you don’t need that :)

    I think in a marriage its a little about being so intertwined in each other’s life which includes engaging with the significant other in all modes, whether its sharing your appreciation for something or needing that nod for something that you do. The other bit is about being so used to doing that over a period of time that it becomes a second nature and then you wait for that response and get annoyed when we don’t get it.

  3. Those feelings, so aptly put into words! <3

    Guess thats what we live for; approval, acknowledgement & admiration. It works both ways though! No?

    Lines from my all time favorite song,

    "We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl,
    year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have we found? The same old fears.
    Wish you were here" – Pink Floyd

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