Blogging Challenges

Mindful Living Challenge – Maintaining Eye Contact {Week Two}

“The people whose first instinct is to smile when you make eye contact with them are earth’s greatest treasures.” – Unknown

The thing I always love the most about people are their eyes.

People may have great hair, an amazing figure, shining white teeth, or the funniest laugh you’ve ever heard, but I have yet to meet one person where their eyes weren’t my absolute favorite part about them.

There are cheesy quotes across the internet (and in the real world, too – hehe) that talk about eyes, such as this treasure: Eyes are the gateway to the soul. In essence, I completely agree with the quote, although I wouldn’t say it in so many words.

If I want to know a lot about a person, I look into their eyes. It is startling at times how much you can find there.

Some people carry laughter in their eyes – those are my favorite kinds of people. Others carry a warm smile or curiosity; there are those whose eyes contain sadness, emptiness, loneliness … there are some eyes that carry absolutely nothing at all.

Needless to say, you can truly begin to understand an individual just by taking a look at their eyes.

Since I was a young child, I’ve struggled with looking at people directly when they’re talking to me.

It gets even worse when I need to respond, because to allow my mind to work, I usually let my eyes sweep the room I’m in and finally land back on the person I’m addressing once I’m finished talking. Most of my time spent looking at people is when they’re talking, or when I’m just people-watching. (Yeah, I’m that kind of person. I promise, I mean no malice!)

Even though it’s hard for me, I know that the way in which we truly connect with someone, where we let them know something deep about us and exhibit a form of respect, is by maintaining eye contact. It’s a unique form of vulnerability that allows us to connect with others on a personal level.

I’ve decided to dedicate the second week of this challenge to looking people in the eye when we’re having a conversation. There are so many benefits to this, and I want to get into the beautiful habit of doing it (i.e. letting people know I care and am listening to them, lol) without having to deliberately choose to do so.

It’s crazy to me how the simplest of courtesies have become a scarcity in this day and age.

When I’m not conscious of it, I fall out of the practice of seemingly easy things when I’m not mindful of them. The one that I’m working on this week is just one of them.

Living in the age of handheld devices cripples all of us in one way or another. Whether those we know are addicted to their screens, or we ourselves have that issue (*slowly raises hand*), screens draw us away from the people we’re with. I know that when my phone makes little sounds and the screen lights up with notifications, it’s hard for me to stay focused on what’s happening around me or who’s talking at that moment. If I’m looking at something on my phone when someone starts talking to me, there’s a huge chance that I won’t hear most of what they’re saying.

Because I find it so much easier to express myself and listen to others via electronics, my real life conversational abilities have grown very weak.

I find eye contact intimidating and I struggle to express myself in spoken words. This is one of those things I never thought I’d have to work on, since it should come naturally, right? But it really doesn’t in the time we’re living in.

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Have you ever looked one of your family members or closest friends in the eyes for more than a few seconds? I’m not talking about one of those eye staring contests you have with your younger siblings every so often. I’m talking about actually looking someone in the eye for an unbroken ten seconds. I did this with my dad several weeks ago without telling him what I was doing, and both of us were startled by it. I’d never intentionally looked him in the eye for that long – ever – and I could tell by the look on his face that he’d never seen my eyes for that length of time before.

It’s true that I can think more easily by avoiding eye contact, but that doesn’t mean that it’s also not an injustice to the people I love. They deserve to see my eyes directly when I’m talking, or when they’re telling me something.

Why I Want To Maintain Eye Contact:

  • I want to reassure the speaker that I’m listening.
  • I want to let the person I’m chatting with know that I care.
  • I want to be trustworthy.
  • I want to be fun to talk to.
  • I want to be known as an attentive person.
  • I want to continue to overcome my social anxiety.
  • I want people to know I’m happy to be with them.
  • I want others to know that I value real conversations over electronic ones.
  • I want to continually converse with people face-to-face.

Why do you want to maintain eye contact?
Will you join me on this challenge?

“Friendship is not about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you!” and proved it.” – Unknown

27 replies on “Mindful Living Challenge – Maintaining Eye Contact {Week Two}”

Wow! This post was so inspirational!
I completely agree. If someone’s talking to you and you don’t give them importance obviously they’ll feel offended! Maintaining an eye contact assure the person we are talking to, that we are listening to them, and what they are saying is important to us. Thank you so much for this blog!
This was an EYE opener.
Much respect, Penny xxx

Liked by 1 person

This is so true. I saw a video in which they told people (who are related to each other in some way- parent or partner or sibling, etc) to look into eyes for one minute and people literally cried after that. There’s something really beautiful that happens when you hold eye contact. Thank you for sharing more about this!

Liked by 3 people

I have no problem looking close friends and family members in the eye, but like you, when I am talking to someone I’m not very close or familiar with or someone who is an authority figure type person, my instinct is to look… at the ground. πŸ˜‰ Or somewhere else besides directly in the eyes. I think this is pretty natural, especially if you are a timid person like myself, because in certain situations, direct eye contact can be a threat. (You know how people always say that if a dog is acting like they’re going to bite you, don’t look them in the eye because they’ll perceive that as a threat.) But in normal conversations between people where it IS appropriate, not making eye contact can come off as rude. The closest I have gotten thus far is to look at the person’s face in general, not really focusing on one particular aspect. But I am trying to get better about it.

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Hi Maggie! πŸ’› I’m one of those people that raised that hand ya literally all of that πŸ˜‚ I have a serious problem with keeping eye contact with someone, when I’m talking I end up focusing on something in the room or landscape and eventually meeting their eyes at the end of my sentence. When you meet someone eye-to-eye, you let them see you and put yourself up to be judged, which is one of the most difficult things in life. It’s like stepping out behind your comfort zone and letting people see. I have a habit of not looking at someone’s eyes either, if you asked the coloursof people’s eyes I hang out with I wouldn’t know, because I tend not to look at them. I will definitely be participating in this challenge! πŸ’›βœ¨
Great post Maggie x
Amber xxx

Liked by 2 people

Aww haha same here, Amber! πŸ˜‚πŸ™ŒπŸΌ It’s soooo much easier to talk to someone without looking at them, because when I try to look someone right in the eye when I’m telling them something, then I start trying to read what their eyes are saying and I lose my train of thought. πŸ˜‚πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ It’s definitely easier to look people you love in the eye, I agree!
Aww yay, glad you’re joining me! Thanks always, Amber πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

Liked by 1 person

Oh, this is such an inspiring post! I myself have always struggled with eye contact. I tend to immediately look away once I catch someone looking into my eyes. I’m sure your week will be great, and you’ll succeed in maintaining eye contact!
I find it interesting how our eyes are simply another organ in our bodies, and yet they have so much to tell and we usually avoid looking into other people’s eyes. Hmm… This post was very thought-provoking – I might join you on this challenge! πŸ˜€

Liked by 2 people

I’m very intimidated by staring new people in the eye, but it can also be a challenge with my family members! Aw thanks, Oxria πŸ’•
Isn’t that crazy?? Eyes are such beautiful things ❀️ Cool, I’d love to have you along!

Liked by 2 people

Very good points about how face-to-face communication is changing in general because of technology. I used to have quite debilitating social anxiety, but over the years things changed and I grew more confident. I’m a totally different person now to what I was. I find eye contact so important, and even though that was hard for me many years ago, it got easier. I think a little confidence in yourself, and realising that others are on the same level as you and may feel awkward too sometimes, helps. The eyes really do tell you so much about a person, they’re pretty amazing things! I think this is a great personal challenge, and I’m sure that bit by bit you’ll find it a little easier, wishing you luck! It’ll be worth it πŸ™‚
Caz xx

Liked by 2 people

Thanks for reading, Caz! πŸ’š That’s beautiful 😊 I’m really hoping it gets easier for me, too! It will improve with practice πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ Yes, very true! Thanks Caz πŸ’œ

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