It is stressed to be one of the hallmarks of effective communication and connection with another person. Eye contact can flirt. It can harm. It can show respect, disrespect, it can wage a war.
“Look at me when I’m speaking to you.”
“Don’t you dare look at me like that.”
“When he looks at me, he can see my soul.”
Even animals have mastered (and communicated to humans) the lexicon of looks. Person makes eye contact with bear, bear mauls person.
Really very simple.
(I’m a wildlife advocate, I think it may take more for a bear to maul you-but it was my first example. Hippos may have been a better choice.)
I’m thinking about all of this eye contact stuff BECAUSE I’ve been considering the trust in my life. The trust i have in others, the trust others have in me.
I’ve been reexamining my relationship with trust when it comes to trusting myself. My own gut and heart–and how I feel I’ve probably led myself astray more than I have any other human out there. I’m a bad, unconvincing liar. Although I really used to try it. There are a few things I still lie about-and I find myself slapping my wrists and rinsing my mouth out with (figurative) soap, wondering why it was hard for me to just be honest in that moment. To just be free. I’m so unabashedly open with everything else, but there’s just those last few things-that I haven’t come clean on. They don’t really affect anyone but me, but where I am affected I may infect others. And that is no good. I am beginning a practice of staring at myself in the mirror while I repeat these lies to myself and then replacing them with the truths. I don’t know if that will be helpful, but i don’t mind experimenting on myself.
I’ve realized I cannot-physically am not able to-look someone I am not good with in the eye. We can be in the same room, with mutual friends, they could be talking directly to me and I absolutely will be looking at a spot over their heads. (Thank you theater training) Or occupying myself with something else to avoid it all together. This has occurred to me with people I have had falling outs with, with people I do not trust/respect, with people who annoy me greatly. That I have not expressed my disdain, anger–whatever my thing is with them. These are generally people that I am not close with, but may have had some sort of friendly relationship with at some point. When I am confronting someone, it is a completely different story. I look them in the eye hoping they can see my heart. This-isn’t that.
I felt it very palpably this past week-sharing space with someone I truly do not care for. I noticed a few attempts on her behalf to partake in a conversation I was a part of and I completely shut down.
I didn’t want to share any part of myself with her. I didn’t want to “be fake.” Ugh, that makes me shudder, I have to take that fake person I am being home with me. And I don’t want them in my space. So I retain my cordial indifference by keeping to myself. Not giving them a thing. My eyes cannot lock into theirs-we will not share souls-we won’t connect. I can’t be honest with me, and make contact with you.
This isn’t a practiced way of being for me-just something that occurs naturally and I’ve allowed myself to go with it. A true gut reaction.
But I know I can’t ALWAYS be surrounded by “my people” so I am open to suggestions if there is a better way.
What do you do when you are confronted with dishonesty from yourself or others? Is it hard to admit to yourself when you lie? Is it hard to be around people you don’t trust? Do you think that just because you are a trustworthy person, other people should naturally trust you?
Lots I’m thinking about!
The truth is out there,