I’ve heard Oprah Winfrey say the most important thing to a child is whether your eyes light up when he enters the room. Not what you say or what actions you take or what you give him but do your eyes light up when you see him.
It touched me deeply then and it is something I love by now. Oh how funny, I wanted to write ‘something I live by’ and I wrote ‘love by’. A typo worth keeping I’d say. Freud would approve.
So it really is something I live and love by. I am aware of it when I see my children (or any child actually) and I make sure that my eyes shine with delight at the glory of who they are. Sometimes I have to fake it a little but my intentions are honest and I figure a mild twinkle is better than none. I look at him or her and deliberately radiate my delight at their presence. (On the bad days I have to remind myself of the bigger picture and then it’s easier to connect with my delight at their presence in my life and shine it at them).
The response is good.
We forget these most important little things sometimes in the busy-ness of our lives. There’s so much to do all the time and such a battle to find time for it all – it’s hard to additionally keep in mind that others are people too. It’s so easy to express your annoyance at being interrupted (again) with rolled eyes and exasperated sigh. To glare the burden of the effort of all you do for her. To half close your eyes at the boredom of listening to what he has to say – or disbelief of his story.
The impact of that is deeper than we allow ourselves to realise. Think of how your parents looked at you at different times. Do you have any memories of being gazed at with wonder and love, or pride and approval, or distaste, or resentment… What did it do to you?
Chatting about this with someone today I realised, this gazing thing is also really important when it comes to one’s partner. I mean a big reason many of us feel unappreciated or sad in our relationships is because our partner’s eyes no longer always shine when they see us. Over time we forget to express our delight at each other through our eyes. We start to take each other for granted, there’s so much going on and all the logistics of working, running a home and kids and a self… who has time to twinkle at a partner? And yet… it’s what we all look for. Do your eyes light up when you see me?
It’s thought-provoking isn’t it? “And what”, I said to my conversation partner suddenly as I realised it myself, “would it be like if your eyes always light up when you look at yourSELF?!”
Imagine that. Try.
Look at yourself with delight and adoration.
How does it feel?
What sort of eyes do you look at yourself with usually? Do you light up at the thought of you or are you usually more critical or disappointed or dismissive? If you were a child being looked at by you, what message would your gaze be sending?
Did you flinch or grimace now?
What would it be like to view everything you do with delight? Imagine feeling loving curiosity and satisfied adoration about all the things you do in your day – just like you feel (on a good day) when you watch kids going about their day. They are fascinating to watch as they try and figure out and learn. And you know you love them.
Can you apply this same attitude to yourself? Just watching yourself learn and try, falter and succeed and feeling permissive and doting because, of course, you are at baseline, wonderful.
Imagine lighting up with delight inside every time you think of you – a real quiet, sparkling delight.
Isn’t it kind of odd that we don’t?
Share this with everyone. Let’s give ourselves permission to look at ourselves with love and acceptance. That is what will make this world light up!
You surprised me again in a fantastic way. -“And what”, I said to my conversation partner suddenly as I realised it myself, “would it be like if your eyes always light up when you look at yourSELF?!”- I had never thought of treating myself that way before. Thank you!
Rachel I’m so glad. So very, very glad. I’ve been trying it and it’s a precious, wonderous, safe, loved feeling. To see myself that way. To look at myself with the same love and appreciation as I do my children. With the same basic acceptance of the wonderfulness and goodness of who they are. With the same total acceptance of their being in a stage of learning and growing. Accepting them getting things ‘wrong’ because there IS no wrong. To look at myself like that and let my eyes light up with pleasure and appreciation of who I am and where I am at is MAGICAL!!!
I wish more of us would do it.