Look Longer


“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for a minute?” ~Henry David Thoreau

You’re riding on the subway, immersed in a book. You’re running in the park, lost in your iPod. You’re waiting in line at Starbucks, fixated on the menu.

Sometimes we act like we’re completely alone, even when  surrounded by lots of people. It’s like we’re following an unspoken rule that suggests we shouldn’t look at each other, at least not for too long.

It happens all the time…

You suddenly make eye contact with someone you don’t know and your discomfort compels you to avert your eyes. If you do manage a smile it’s probably perfunctory, without real joy and affection behind it. Those are emotions you reserve for people you  know—people you’re more intimate with.

Some studies have indicated people who live in cities are less apt to make eye contact with strangers than people who live in suburbs. This may be a response to crowding; when you feel you don’t have enough personal space, you’re more protective of it.

If there’s truth to that hypothesis, it’s somewhat ironic. You move to a city to experience the life that pulsates through it, and then respond by shutting down in everyday situations.

Resist the urge to shutdown. Instead of walking with your eyes glued to your feet, hold your head high and connect with people. Really see them and let them see you. If you’re not a confident person, connecting for more than one second may feel incredibly difficult. Just try.

When you make a genuine connection, you acknowledge that the person in front of you is real and worthy. You remind both them and yourself that no one operates in a vacuum, that the world is so much larger than the constructs we operate within: our families, our teams at work, our friends. And lastly, you foster the type of spirit that stays open to possibilities.

When you look a little longer you see more—more in other people, more within yourself, and more within your reach.

Photo here

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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