We can show up to and mine our emotions for their values without needing to listen to them. Just like I can show up to my son in his frustration with his baby sister.

I read above sentences in a ted talk. Here is the link video source at 12:48. I have searched for the meaning of phrasal verb "show up" in dictionaries,but it seems that there is no definition below suitable in the mentioned context.

Could anyone help me explain the meaning of "show up to" in these sentences?.

  • 1
    My feeling is that this must be a transcription error, because it doesn't make sense as written.
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 7:36
  • @TypeIA maybe:) It is hard to understand what the speakers want to convey Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 9:03
  • 1
    Anyway yeah, it's nothing I've ever heard before. It might be a direct translation of something in her native language, because I can't think of a simple English phrase that means exactly what she's trying to say. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


It's jargon/buzzwords. I won't say this is poor grammar (though it is) because it is really a new style. While I will go to my grave saying it is wrong, this will be in Merriam Webster in not too long. You will hear "show up to" used a lot both in the African American community of millennial age, and among people who talk about emotions. To me its up there with "my truth", "speaking truth to power", "my authentic self" in terms of it being basically buzzwords.

Because it is a buzz word (phrase) it is hard to define, it will be used in many ways and there is not a real definition so it will be misused (if that is possible). The way it is being used here is "recognize and validate". It's like saying "I see you".

Currently, there is a big push by some people (trying to keep this apolitical) for everyone to agree that we all need to be validated. We all need people to see us for who we are, and say "I see you, I respect you, I love you". (note, I am not trying to "invalidate" anyone's existence, so please no responses about that).

I believe this particular phrase probably came from "show up for". As in "if you are in trouble, I will show up [for you] in your time of need", and it just got mangled from there.

  • May one chuckle at using “in terms of” in a sentence about annoying recent turns of phrase? Does this make me a meta- or hyper-curmudgeon? Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 2:25
  • Anton, you may.
    – Patrick
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 19:20

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