In Your Language

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flawed Femme

Based on a the video featuring Nancy Thomas, adoptive mother to 9 children.

My dog Bella: Jan. 29, 2012

 What do soft eyes look like?

I watched the video that I linked to above. "Soft eyes" really spoke to me. It was convicting because I've been told I have an angry expression most times, even if I don't feel angry inside. There is a YouTube-er called "clothesencounters" who said she smiles a lot because otherwise she has a bitch face. LOL, I guess I must be her sister. [sigh]

So when I picture soft eyes, the only thing I can think of is my beloved furry giant when she was just 6 weeks old, as pictured above. I believe her eyes in this picture capture the essence of "soft eyes."

[Science] There is science behind visual cues between people. In the "Still Face Experiment," researchers observe the effects of a mother's lack of affect (blank stares) on her baby. Humans take for granted the power in that eye-eye connection. It's, surprisingly, an important part of our brain development. Parents actually usher their children through development more than we (as a general population) realize. [Here is more commentary pertaining to that powerful experiment.]

[Frame of Reference] Between my time in the orphanage and growing up with well-meaning but mostly "absent" parents, I think I have become pretty immune to lack of attention. I developed a preference for fading into the background. I am really uncomfortable with eyes on me in public. In my subconscious mind, eye contact (from me) at all is better than none or blank stares.

I have so much to work on, but I'll start with the "soft eyes." This is a major deficit in my life so it is not the easiest for me to tackle. I'm not going to mislead you to think that once I "get it" that I'll be perfect. I can only do my best and still come out majorly flawed. I guess you'll have to take it or leave it.

Soft eyes communicate warmth, love, compassion, and peace. I can honestly say that I strive to communicate those things, yet my mind is easily corrupted upon provocation. It's a huge weakness of mine. [look of shame] When my kindness and good intentions are not detected, my mind goes on "chuck it" mode and I stop putting effort into it.  My demeanor tends to slide. 

[Have you been misunderstood?] I spent much of my life going to great lengths to convince people of who I am and still being mislabeled. Sadly, I've lost the hope that I could be convincing. I stopped trying to prove myself and I withdrew. It's bad and it's human. I wish I didn't have to talk about myself this way. {Impression management walked out the door for me at this point.}

[Perhaps you can relate.] Sometimes people expect me to be "grandma" or the "favorite aunt." It is apparent that anybody but me would be awesome. At that point, I am a non-entity and that's where things go south for me. Those situations trigger me to feel like I'm not good enough and by extension, nothing I do will make a difference. Of course I want to make a difference. 

[We're not all that bad.] Letting people be imperfect is so freeing and brings out the best in them. I find myself extending this toward others. It's easy for me because of my waning memory. I [thankfully] have a hard time remembering which makes it difficult for me to remain angry. Either way, I've decided to let most things go. I act in good faith toward others; as though they are not trying to insult me, rather, as thought they are having a bad day.

[Why is this so common?] Imagine having the worst day in your whole life, and having someone judge you based on that one day. It doesn't seem fair, does it? I try to  keep that in mind and extend grace in those situations. It works for my peace of mind and helps in my marriage. It actually transformed my marriage. Too bad it took me so long to "get it."

So, I am on this long journey called life with my own set of experiences, my own limits, and my own abilities. I think "soft eyes" will do a lot of good, but what about when the going gets tough? Should people bail out because they didn't get "soft eyes"? 

Christian Commentary: That's where Jesus was so wise. He knew better than to let us compare our faults. He related looking at another with lust as having an affair. He related saying angry words to murder. With those standards, we are all horrible people who are perfectly loved and forgiven by the Lord of Lords, the God of the Heavens.

It's one thing to have faults, but it's another to judge faults against each other. The point is that we all fall short of perfect. We are called to redeem each other and to minister to each other. We are not supposed to wait until someone is loveable to love on them. 

[Proposition to Self] If I'm going to excuse any faults, let it be towards someone else. 

[Your Turn] When is the last time someone gave you "Soft Eyes" or loved you when you were not at your peak performance? Are you closer to that person because of it?

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