“Let me look into your eyes.” Cupping his face, Sally looked deeply into the sparkling depths of those little blue orbs staring back at her. Simultaneously cupping her face, Cooper returned her gaze and smiled. Connection. Reagan and Fulton followed, though at 2 years old, a Fulton cup and stare runs the risk of a head butt. There is nothing that says “I see you and am fully present to you” like staring into the eyes of another human being.
The Latin origin of the word “reconcile” means “eyelash to eyelash.” It is a removing of distance. If we are close enough to be eyelash to eyelash, there is nothing standing between us. Such focus is restorative and bonding.
What do we see in such moments? In little children, it is likely awe and wonder. In those depths swirl endless curiosity and a breezy innocence so complete that our world-weary selves may find our breath taken away. In others we may be surprised or affirmed in the sweep of pain, fear, hope, and joy.
To be seen is such a powerful sensation. It is a first step to being known or affirmed. When we bring ourselves close and look deeply into another human being, we affirm that they matter…that we truly see them.
Breaking this down a bit further, we find two compelling elements in such connection. The is focus. A quick Google search suggests that we are bombarded with 6000-10,000 ads per day. Imagine how much we look at every day and the difficulty in bringing our focus onto any single thing in the face of so much intake.
When we focus, we train the full firepower of our mind upon one thing. Focus is the ultimate weapon in our battle to be fully present in each moment. It is also relational currency of exponential value. To focus is to invest by choosing to forego some other possible focus for the one before us.
We all want to be seen and heard and understood. Our distracted world leaves many feeling unnoticed, unseen. There is great loneliness in the desert of indifference, and many of us find ourselves wandering there from time to time. Did he hear me? Did she see me? Did anyone notice? We get lost in the mass of humanity, and feel invisible in a world of so many other things clamoring to be seen.
Our company holds monthly town hall meetings. One of my favorite moments in these meetings is when we ask team members for “shout outs” acknowledging others in the company. Suddenly, the room is abuzz with all sorts of “seeing.” “Thank you for helping solve a problem.” “Thank you for showing up.” “I noticed your effort.” “I saw you make a difference.” “I’m grateful for your generosity.” It all says: you matter. Sometimes we see the heart and soul of another from a distance in what they do or how they do it. Often, they had no idea we noticed.
From focus, we move to the second compelling element of such connection: the gift of self. Not only do we see the other through the power of our focus, we gift a part of ourself through what they see in us. In this way, it is an exchange, an exposing moment of sharing that reveals something more of each. Through the eyes, we show understanding, concern, doubt, pain, or love. I see you and I bring this part of me in the seeing.
Here I am, I see you. Here I am, I care. Here I am, I too am vulnerable. Windows give two-way visibility. The way we care says as much about us as it does the other. Investing self in this way cements the connection. We’re in it together. I see you and, you see me.
There are windows all around us. Are we looking? Do we want to see within? Or, are we passing them daily, just glancing at our own reflection? So much is missed in those deep pools. So much is lost when we settle for the passing glance, absorbed with a thousand other distractions. The paradox of looking for the treasures hidden in another’s depths is that it often reveals our own.
Today, someone will turn their eyes to you. Pause for a moment, then, look deeply. Perhaps you’ll see their soul, and in the seeing, your own.
Wow. Well said again. A great reminder of remembering what’s important. Not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life and take a moment for those in your life.
Thank you so much for this reminder. I always feel this pull to something else and end up with most things unfinished. I feel this pull even when I know my husband is being present and my time isn’t invested properly. This is something I need to work on, and I needed to hear it today.