Working on personal goals should be a priority in life. After conquering so many of these in my own life, I sometimes wonder if there is more to achieve. But, just when I think I've done it all, something else surfaces before my eyes. Another hurdle….another up hill climb…another challenge…. another goal.
My new found goal, is to make better eye contact. I'm really not horrible at doing this to begin with, but I think as time goes on, I actually am getting worse at doing this. In my own personal opinion, the world, as a whole, is getting worse at this.
Just to point out the elephant in the room, I am aware that I don't have the credentials to compare the world as a whole. There are several third world countries that I have never been to…or second and first world countries either, for that matter. I have no idea if they maintain good eye contact or not. In addition to that, I am certain that there are some cultures that find it offensive to make good eye contact, though I don't know which ones those are, and I'm not pretending to. So, lets say I'm talking about the people of this country, and a handful of other countries, that I think are responding similarly. Basically, if you feel like I'm talking about you, or your culture, that's who I'm referring to:)
Since technology has come to be prevalent in our society, our eyes spend way more time looking at computer screens than each other. We text, email, tweet, and blog to get our thoughts and feelings out. It is way more time effective, depending on how long you're doing it….which means its not time effective at all.
When eating lunch with friends, we are communicating still, but without eye contact. Ours eyes are constantly glancing downward to look at the screen of the iPhone. Whose call or text must we have missed? We scroll through face book, while eating a sandwich, and nodding occasionally to our friend, all the while looking down. We only glance upwards if we feel we missed a good part of something….something funny or worthwhile. Even still we need caught up to speed….”What did you say”?
The conversations are less about real happenings in life, but instead become centered on what's happening in social media. We even talk to each other with our phones facing one another…again looking downward. “Did you see so and so…she put a selfie of herself in the shower”? “Nuh uh! Let me see. Oh, and I want to show you guys something else I saw that's hilarious. Watch this video”!
I have noticed recently, that even at home, as my children try and tell me about their day, or something that happened to them at school, that I do respond to them, but I'm only half way listening, and half way responding. My eyes rarely meet theirs, because I'm busy, reading emails, texting a friend, writing or reading a blog, playing a quest on candy crush, or looking up outfits that Jane Fonda used to wear! All of these things are important, but are they as important as the children? I'm not sure… But it made me strive for a new goal.
So, I've been practicing making better eye contact…both at home and at work. It's harder than it looks, and I advise all of you try it a time or two in the near future. The problem is not making the eye contact. The problem is the response you get when you try to do it. People aren't used to it, and I admit, I'm a little rusty.
Recently, each time I have put the phone down, or have raised my head to look into a persons eyes, many of the people have become immediately uncomfortable. It's as though I am boring through their souls! They start looking around, like I may be peering beyond them, or checking their face to see if there is a hanging boog, or a pimple that has been left unmanipulated.
When I've tried it with my own children, they say “What are you looking at”, or “Why are you staring at me”! Has it really become so unheard of, to make eye contact with a person with whom you are speaking? This
experiment goal, has been an eye opening for me….literally! 🙂
Obviously, I'm not going to give up on my goal, because I'm no quitter. I've realized the challenges I face, and it makes the goal that much more appealing. The only question I really need to consider at this point, is what I could be doing to contribute to people's uncomfortableness in my process.
Could it be that other people are really uncomfortable with this old, yet new form of eye contact, or is it that I'm so rusty at it, that my eyes are opened too widely, and I'm focused so intently on what they are saying, that I forget to even blink my own eyes! I guess I could be adding a scary element to my goal!
Oh no, I think I've just found a NEW goal that coincides with my older goal! Geeeesh….You see, its a cycle that NEVER ends!