Look into My Eyes?
The eyes are said to be the 'windows to the soul', and one of the frequently mentioned body parts of those who are in love. We're bombarded with literature on the importance of 'eye contact', and I've heard many people stating that a lack of eye contact between a mother and a child indicates serious problems. But is there truth to any of these not-so-subliminal-messages?
I normally give plenty of eye contact. I am one of those who relies on 'what I see' in the eyes of another. I even make a point of giving the cashier eye contact when saying thank you as they put the change in my hand. I too, am one of those who gives the eyes importance, more importance than I probably should.
I had reason to look more closely at eye contact and what it did and did not do. I had a rude awakening that it did not transmit a magically infused beam of whatevers to the looked upon...eye contact does not create an emotional bond, although it is true that we are more likely to give eye contact to those we care about.
All those hours you spend eye gazing in the early days of a relationship are doing nothing to increase the bond...and now I wonder if we give more eye contact because we're trying to imply there is a bond, a case of fake it til you make it...or maybe we're just enjoying that we have the undivided attention of another human and the loved up feeling we get from it is actually no more than a narcissistic feeding frenzy?
The parent/child bond is not secured with loving eyes either....blind mothers are perfectly able to create a loving bond with their children, as are the seeing mothers of blind babies - something I had never given a thought to. Although, eye contact may be more important to those who are unable to use their voice, and those who can't hear...but I would imagine that touch plays a significant part too.
What I did learn is that it's usually adults who use eye contact to add emotional weight to their message. It's the ones doing the talking who need it, and it's more than likely stemming from insecurity if they're at all obsessive about it. Has anyone ever demanded you look at them whilst they're speaking to you? What's that all about?
The long and short of it is, eye contact is something we learn and not necessary at all when it comes to forming an emotional bond. And that should be obvious when there are people who form attachments to others who they never see, as is the case with long distance relationships and online friendships.
Art by Vineet Radhakrishnan