“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