People Watching: Let Your Light Shine
They come in every color, size, and shape. Some are quick-stepping and flamboyant while others are slow and methodical. You pass them on the street or in your favorite store and some greet you with a smile while others turn their head and pretend not to see. People are quite fascinating if you take the time to watch them.
I became obsessed with people watching many years ago. My belief that we were all basically the same was shattered when I began to notice the unique behaviors of people who looked very similar. A more careful examination of people in a crowd revealed that people with very similar appearances often demonstrated very unique behaviors. As a student of life, I became an ardent people watcher.
Over time, I realized that our basic needs are the same. We all need food, shelter, water, and air to sustain life. But that is where our similarities turn into a plethora of differences.
What is it that makes us so varied? What is it in our genetic design that makes us so different?
Let’s talk about some of differences and have a little fun.
While sitting in a physician’s office recently, I began to notice the variations in posture among those waiting for appointments. Young or old, black or white, male or female , there is no standard. Some folks sit tall and erect, feet flat on the floor as if ready to jump on a moment’s notice. Others slump in their seats as if they have forgotten they aren’t at home watching their favorite sitcom in their favorite chair. Still other sit on the edge of their seat, head hanging down as if to look up might force them to acknowledge the person sitting beside them.
Are you geared to race to the next stop or do you lumber along, enjoying the scenery as you go? Look around you sometime. Some people move like their tail is on fire, as if they are afraid to stop for fear of their engine not starting again. Some appear frantic while others are as elegant as a thoroughbred horse. And then there are those who seem to just be smelling the roses as they go. Surely they must be noticing everything around them; the color of the carpet, the light filtering through the skylight, or the scent of dozens of perfumes and after-shaves that have melded together in a kaleidoscope of fragrance.
Have you noticed how some people can look like a GQ model in a pair of faded jeans and a flannel shirt while others look like they should be digging ditches or mucking stalls? How can it be, that two people with the same body type, the same age, and coloring, can look so different in the same fashion style? Two middle-aged gentlemen can put on the same khaki pants and a polo shirt and one will look distinguished and the other – disheveled. Oh yes, we are fascinating creatures, aren’t we?
I love the new messy, scrunched hairstyles but to be honest, that’s how they look on me – messy. Some women can wear the “big” hair and look like a Vogue cover while another looks like a leftover from the 60’s. Look around you. How is that some women look like Beyonce with her mane of luxurious hair while someone else looks like the rear end of a horse? Same hair, same body, same facial shape but there is a startling difference in the overall look. Ever wonder why?
Some people have a foot fetish. I don’t. Personally, I don’t want to touch someone else’s feet and I don’t want them touching mine. I don’t honestly know why. But I do like to look at people’s feet. I am fascinated by the shoes people wear and I don’t understand why some women will stuff their size 10 feet in a size 8 shoe and think they look nice. Another mystery is why some people will spend a lot of money on a pair of leather boots and then never put a coat of polish on them. In my years of people watching, I’ve noticed people who spend more on a pair of athletic shoes than they spend on their spouse’s birthday and then never wash them.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. Our feet are important and should be comfortable in whatever style shoe we choose to wear. But I have to ask – can comfort really exist in those 6 inch high spike heels or those hairy boots that look like they still have a heartbeat? Really?
My most fascinating study of people came in a popular chain restaurant that served an unlimited salad bar. I became fascinated by the individualized building of a simple salad. Building a salad seems to be a very technical process for some people. Just sit and watch sometime.
Some folks will make a plate of all the side salads. They will place dab of potato salad beside a sample of fruit salad and then carefully add a dollop of cottage cheese, being careful not to let any of them touch each other. Another person will carefully craft a healthy salad of all the vegetables but each item has a predetermined place in the arrangement. There seems to be a hierarchy that must be followed or, it’s not a perfect salad. Do the vegetables really care? Does a salad taste different if you rearrange the vegetables? The answer is still a mystery to me.
- Living With Purpose
This is who I am flesh and blood, a person trying to live life with purpose. It is a lifelong journey into self awareness and self-discovery. Think you know me? What is my purpose?
The Moral of This Story
Yes, every story has a moral even if the storyteller has to tell you what it is. The moral of this story is that we can learn a lot about the human race by watching people. It doesn’t matter where you are, just look for a crowd, large or small, and sit back and take notice. You’ll discover that although we are very similar in some ways, we are a diverse species with unique styles, body language, and tastes. What makes us so different?
My hobby of watching people has led me to the following conclusion:
We are what we are because of how we feel about ourselves and our surroundings. If we feel good about ourselves, we shine from within. If we do not, our light grows dim. It makes no difference what we wear or how we sit; how fast we move or the style of our shoes. We are – the light within us.
When we are living with purpose, it doesn’t matter how we build our salad or how big our hair is. Our spirit shines and touches the world around us with an invitation to be joyful. When we are living a life of compassion and participating in this experience we call life, we invite others to join us without a word. We say it with our persona, the very essence of who we are.
The moral of the story is – be your best self and never concern yourself with what you think others want you to be. Build your salad your way. Stand tall or relax. Move quickly or deliberately. It doesn’t matter as long as you let your light shine! From within.
© 2013 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson