First Lady of #Compassion

What do most people want? Oprah Winfrey, who has conducted some 35,000 interviews, said that the people she met had one common denominator. Once the camera is off, people always, in their own way, ask, “Was that okay?” Whether that person is President Bush, President Obama, another celebrity, an ordinary person, or a victim or perpetrator of crime, they all have that question in common. Even Beyoncé asked the same question after finishing a performance. Winfrey noted, “We all want to feel validated and understood.”

But it’s not easy in this day and age to meet an unceasingly positive person who validates and understands us. We know this even if we have many friends around us or thousands of Facebook or Instagram likes. They don’t accept us as we truly are or understand us even to our depths.

Let’s hear from some people who have met Suh Yoon.

“My tears overflowed when I met Suh Yoon. I had never experienced this before. I felt like my existence itself was understood in its entirety. It was like escaping from the prison of myself and finding the safest place in the world.”

“Her gaze seemed to soothe the deepest parts of my soul. Her aura and energy are so miraculous. I felt that my heart was healing itself.”

“She never tried to judge me. She was completely on my side. I felt warm and comfortable. I was able to appear as I truly was.”

“Suh Yoon was like a genie in a lamp just for me. She listened to my desires and said, ‘It will happen.’ Like magic, my worries disappeared and my heart filled with hope.”

According to the psychologist Carl Rogers, people want to preserve and actualize themselves and be respected by others. Counselors therefore need to have genuineness, acceptance (unconditional positive regard), and empathy.

But psychologists and counselors observe us with professionally trained looks and try to judge and analyze us. Teachers and bosses listen to what we say and deliver long lectures in return. (That’s why we never tell them how we truly feel!) When we tell friends our troubles, we feel as if they are looking at us and thinking, “That sounds awful. I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me!”

Suh Yoon is different. She values each person as striving to move forward in their lives and respects the person’s right to self-determination no matter what they choose to do. This is what psychologists call unconditional positive regard. In other words, she recognizes the person as a human being with agency to choose how to respond to their situation and believes that no matter how dangerous or dysfunctional they seem to be, they are doing their best.

Carl Rogers’ theory says that people grow the most when others recognize their value. We who meet Suh Yoon are already respected as we are and are embarking on a voyage to discover our true selves. We are safe and comfortable with her. On this journey, we can freely use our latent potential to achieve substantial growth.

“Was that okay?” To our question, Suh Yoon seems to answer with eyes as deep as the sea,

“Yes, it is okay.”


By Jooyun Hong