(Do you ever have those moments where you can remember telling someone something but you can’t remember the person you were talking to? Well, I’m having one of those moments. It really has nothing to do with this post, other than the fact that it’s going to drive me crazy until I remember. So if you are the someone I had the conversation with, please let me know.)
I was talking to someone recently and I brought up the fact that I have a hard time looking people in the eye. I didn’t elaborate on it, just stated it as a fact, a mystery, and moved on.
For some reason I’ve been dwelling on this brief conversation all day, not the conversation itself, but the avoiding-eye-contact part.
I do have a hard time looking people in the eye. It doesn’t matter who they are: family, friend, date, coworker, stranger. Of course, likely no one has really paid attention to this, but they will now that I’ve brought it up.
Typically, someone who avoids eye contact does so for a couple of reasons.
- They are hiding the truth
- They have a social disorder that makes eye contact uncomfortable
Neither of these apply to me (that I know of). So I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why. And the process was quite rambling. But I think I managed to make some progress. The following is very close to the thought process I had today.
The eyes are the window to the soul. There is a power in looking someone in the eye and having them look at you in return. There is a magnetic pull between some eyes and others, like you have no control and must look in that person’s eyes.
What do people see when they look into your eyes? Do they see the truth? Do they see past the image you portray to the world and instead see the real you? Do they see parts of you that you haven’t discovered yet? Do they see your soul? Do they see your heart?
What if I don’t want to be seen? What if everything I do, say, wear, write is a way of not reflecting my inner self but deflecting people’s attention away from who I am? Do I know who I am? I don’t want someone to find out before I do.
Do I avoid eye contact because I don’t want to see myself in others’ eyes? Do I want to pretend what they see doesn’t exist? Am I afraid of what they see? Am I afraid of who I am?
Is it a wall? Perhaps I avoid eye contact to avoid pain, to avoid hurt, to avoid vulnerability. What would happen if I looked into his eyes for as long as possible? Would that magnetic pull keep me from moving forward? Would I see who I am to him? Do I want to know what he sees? What if he sees me in a different way than I want him to? What if he sees more in me than I see in myself?
I don’t like what I see. Physical appearance isn’t everything, but it’s a lot of what I see in myself. I see someone who isn’t me. All he’s ever seen is someone who isn’t me, someone I don’t think represents my true self. My insides aren’t accurately reflected on the outside.
Am I hiding who I am? Have I changed? Has my personality changed because of how I view my physical self? My internal image of myself is not accurately reflected in the mirror.
Eyes are like mirrors. When you look into someone’s eyes, you see a reflection of yourself. And I don’t like the reflection.
Maybe I avoid eye contact in an attempt to keep people from seeing what I don’t see. If I don’t look at them, they can’t look at me.
What a foolish idea. People can see me even if I can’t see them. I can’t immediately change the outside they see. I can only hope they see the me inside. Hope that they ignore the outside. Create an image in their head of what I look like on the outside.