- What do we reveal with our eyes?
- Is it possible to detect a story behind a story through our eyes?
A photographer once told me that when you smile, make sure you are smiling with your eyes. I never thought about this before, but I have never forgotten it. Try smiling with your eyes. Our eyes are capable of communicating the truth about our inner lives.
Have you ever noticed what people reveal with their eyes? Eyes can communicate loss, hopelessness, shame, fear, sadness, and pain. Along with facial expressions and bodily postures, our eyes often reveal a story behind life.
One of the Chinese exchange students who lived in our home interestingly validated this point. One evening, he visited a friend from his previous year in the United States. When he returned home, I asked about his visit, and he expressed deep concern for his friend. He said he could tell that she was “hiding something behind her eyes.”
I asked him what he meant by this expression. He said he notices when a person doesn’t look directly or shifts her eyes as you speak with her. It appears that she is feeling bad or ashamed of something. He said, “When I watched her eyes, I knew something is not right with her.”
I thought he meant that she’s hiding something or being deceitful. But there’s much more to hiding something behind your eyes.
Our exchange student learned that his friend’s life had turned in the wrong direction. Although she did not volunteer this information, what she hid behind her eyes spoke enough for him ask her if everything was alright.
We should all learn to listen to others with our ears and our eyes. Eyes can communicate things about life and the inner self.
Turn out the light in your eyes
A female police officer was preparing to go undercover as a prostitute, and part of her preparation involved an exchange with an actual prostitute. The prostitute approached the officer and got close to her face and asked her if “her daddy ever touched her when she was a little girl.”
The prostitute then got even closer. She looked into the eyes of the officer for an uncomfortable amount of time and said, “Turn the light off in your eyes.” The officer understood what she meant and tried to make her eyes appear to be empty and hopeless.
The emotionless expression of someone whose childhood is violated sexually is a sad reality.
What does it look like when the light is turned off in someone’s eyes? These are eyes void of light. Dark eyes. Eyes that tell us a story is hiding behind the story.
A dark secret
I was immediately impressed with Sue. She always seemed eager to learn, cheerful and friendly–a delight to have around. Everything about her would have made me think she had a healthy 18-year factor. I would have never guessed that this outgoing university freshman carried a dark secret.
As time passed, Sue could no longer maintain the happy demeanor she wanted others to see. She began to turn to excessive behaviors of exercise, dieting, and sleeping. She battled feelings of depression and despair, trying desperately to gain control of her life while feeling helplessly out of control.
What could have caused such a sudden and extreme change? There was a story behind her story, and it was not a fairy tale.
At the advice of a caring friend, she nervously called to request a meeting with me. In the act of tremendous courage, Sue allowed me to be the first person to hear the dark secret she had been carrying.
During visits to her grandparents’ home, at the tender age of 12, her grandfather entered her room and sexually molested her.
Suffering silently, Sue tried to hide and suppress this unimaginable betrayal of trust and violation of her life. She finally reached a breaking point and could no longer sustain the self that she wanted to be. The past devoured the present, and her life began to fall apart.
What happens to a little girl’s sense of identity and security when her grandfather sexually violates her? How would Sue feel if someone told her to “just get over it” or “forgive him and move on”? How is she supposed to do this? How long will it take?
These careless words of advice are unrealistic to the victims of such betrayal and abuse. They only make victims feel more guiltier and more ashamed.
Without loving intervention and help from a counselor, Sue would likely struggle with crippling emotions that destroy her life. She will also leave a broken trail of damaged relationships.
Is there a story behind your story?
Most people recall positive and negative experiences from their upbringing. If you had an overall healthy 18-year factor, you are part of a rapidly diminishing number of people. Those who experienced a healthy upbringing can also benefit from looking more closely at the influences that shaped the way you see yourself and relate to others.
This is especially true for those who are married or planning to marry. Marriage is one of the primary contexts where 18-year-factor issues emerge. Differences in upbringings are a common source of marital disagreements.
It is wise to have deeper conversations about these differences before they become a source of conflict. Looking back in this way should be a required part of the preparation for marriage.
The way we communicate, resolve conflict, process anger, and many other essential parts of life are shaped during our 18-year factor, the most impressionable years of life. These matters profoundly affect our relationships.
Are you willing to be honest about the influences that have shaped your life? If so, buckle up for what might be an interesting and rough ride. Be patient and don’t give up because the destination is worth the trip.
Purchase your copy of my book at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1798227959/ref=sr_1_2…%20AMAZON.COM