The famous poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, won my heart in high school. I enjoyed the challenge of his word choices and was drawn into his timeless stories of love and pain. But his credited phrase, "the eyes are the window to the soul," resonates with me the most because I know, firsthand, the truth behind the words.
The best way to truly connect with someone . . . to show them value . . . is to not only give them our undivided attention but to look them straight in the eyes.
Does this thought make you uncomfortable?
I'm not talking about a staring contest (awkward!) or even getting nose-to-nose with the other person (like your first kiss). Take a breath and listen. It gets easier the more you do it and the difference it makes is astounding!
I use this strategy with my own kids. They don't always like it, but I require them to look me in the eyes while I'm talking and vice versa. I find myself saying things like, "The wall is not talking to you. I am." Or "Hello! I'm over here." But, I get it. We are all easily distracted . . .
Oh wait . . . I have more to write. Sorry I'll put my phone on silent so I don't reach for it when the next trend is tweeted (lol!).
A 2000 study in Canada found that humans actually have a shorter attention span than goldfish. So, I can give you 8 seconds of undivided attention but Goldie swimming around aimlessly in circles is apparently a better listener because she can be captivated for 9 seconds. I think we humans have a lot to work on! Perhaps a new year's resolution of 10 seconds to take down Goldie's world record?
It's an incredible honor when someone allows me to take their picture. To let me into their personal space. To discover what lies beneath their skin. When I look through my camera lens, I focus on faces. And the eyes are the first thing that draws me into a story. One's eyes are like a looking-glass . . . a gateway . . . a doorway . . . to a glimpse of someone's soul. Making eye contact gives the other person permission, a doorway, to be transparent.
I took this picture in Haiti a few years ago when I was documenting the work of Soles4Souls. We were gathered in a church building which essentially was one room made of tin. Although it provided shade, the beating sun made us feel as if we were in a pressure-cooker. The landscape outside was stark with dirt paths leading to small structures many in our American culture unfortunately would call a closet. People from the community were piling to receive a new pair of shoes, a necessity when walking the broken and uneven roads. There are so many pictures to share, but this one speaks volumes. What draws me in is the child's eyes. It makes me yearn to know more. And if I would have looked away, I would have missed seeing their beauty and brokenness.
How do YOU engage people?
Be vulnerable, connect and discover the gateway to someone's soul! If Goldie can do it . . . then so can you.
Study Reference: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smart/