- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Eyes are the Window to the Soul
My very personal account on what eyes reveal and what my own eyes reveal.
I have a hard time making eye contact with people. I didn’t grow up being taught that this was something I should do, so I never did it.
But now, as an adult, I have a hard time making eye contact with people for other reasons. I can’t say it’s because I don’t know any better anymore; I do know better now. But even though I want to make good eye contact with people, I have trouble.
I have trouble because there is a part of me that isn’t accustomed to feeling so friendly towards people. Any people. From strangers to friends to family. I didn’t grow up having friendly relationships with people and being open. It’s hard to reverse that mindset, once it settled. Not impossible, but hard.
The other reason is because I don’t want people to look into my eyes, and really see me. Not just my emotions. But deeper than that. What’s really me, at my core. The eyes are the windows to the soul.
I look into other people’s eyes, and I can see so many things. Who they really are. The primary way they operate; what they dedicate the bulk of their lives too; the deep, internal state that they’re in.
I see people whose eyes reveal both a very calculated nature and kindness. I see eyes that reveal hatred for people—from intense hate, to something more akin to strong dislike and disgust. I see eyes that reveal a very calculated and cold nature. I see eyes that reveal an appreciation for and commitment to beauty, the sensual side of it, in life. I see eyes that reveal an inability to do anything truly wrong or evil; the thought of doing these things doesn’t even cross that person’s mind. I see eyes that reveal a mean person—someone who doesn’t mind hurting others. I see eyes that reveal cruelty—someone who feels absolutely no remorse for causing pain to others, even though that person knows that it’s wrong.
I see eyes that reveal a person without any soul—someone who long ago stopped caring about the significant things in life, things like real love, self-worth, dignity and honor. I see eyes that reveal a simple nature—someone who doesn’t think too much about anything. I see eyes that reveal an immense amount of cruelty—from a mixture of immense hate, rage, and anger, to an extreme ability to let other people horribly suffer. I see eyes that reveal a person with great wisdom, someone who feels great happiness, peace, and contentment, the kind that comes through intense suffering. Wisdom that I can’t comprehend, but I see it in that person’s eyes. I see eyes that reveal a smart person who picks up on a lot of things happening in this world.
For all the infinite possibilities of how our human character can be and of how we really operate and of the states that we can be in, is as many possibilities for the types of things I can see in people’s eyes: an infinite number of them.
I can look into anyone’s eyes, and see what’s there. A quick glance is all I need. I don’t need more than that; looking more doesn’t help or hurt me in deciphering what’s there. I don’t need to remember what that person’s eyes looked like or pay any clear attention to any specific part of their eyes; it’s just something in their eyes I can capture by a quick glance at them. I can decipher what was in people’s eyes, long after I met them, long after I even remember many of their specific facial features. If I interacted with them in person and saw their eyes, and remember that interaction, I’ll always be able to remember what was behind those eyes.
I can only see what’s behind people’s eyes, for that moment. For most people, this doesn’t change too often. Most people don’t change the underlying, core way that they operate or who they are, that often. But some people do. This isn’t a good or bad thing if it happens; perhaps they’re just going through a very tumultuous, unstable, or transition period in their lives. And it happens to all of us at some point in our lives, at the very least from being children to adults.
I’m sure that there are many more nuances, or things to be picked up, behind people’s eyes, that I do not see. That other people in this world are capable of seeing.
My ability to see what’s behind people’s eyes, is not something I tried to learn. It’s something that came to me. It’s not magic though. There’s a pretty good explanation for why I’m able to do this.
I’m able to do this because I have experienced a wide range of human character. I know what it means to be a really mean person inside. Not just an overall good person, with occasional mean and petty thoughts. Or an overall good person, who went through a quick, temporary, mean phase. No, I was a pretty mean person, fundamentally. This was how I started out in life.
And then, when I became much older, something happened to me, to change my ways. I went through a mental breakdown of sorts. It made me into the opposite of what I was. I became a fundamentally, very good person. This wasn’t an overnight process because this wasn’t a small change to my character—it was an enormous change to my character. We don’t come by truly good character easily, especially if we started somewhere extremely low.
I have experienced a very wide range of human character; both ends of the spectrum. I wasn’t the most evil person that ever lived, nor am I the most good person that lives, but I have lived through both ends of the spectrum.
This gives me a certain clarity and depth of understanding about human character. I understand evil better, because I know what goodness is, and I understand goodness better, because I know what evil is. And regardless of strictly good or evil classifications of human character, I also understand, better, the different core principles that we can choose to live by and the states that we can be in.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. They’re our way of connecting to other people, in a way that no other mechanism allows. They show so much about us.
It’s possible that I can be wrong in my assessment of what’s behind someone’s eyes. This has happened to me before. As I’ve gotten to know someone, I’ve realized that what I thought I saw behind that person’s eyes, was clearly wrong.
But this wasn’t a skill I learned; it’s not something I practice and get better at. It’s just an ability that came to me, and so, if I am wrong in my assessment, it’s not that I lack the ability, but that I wasn’t using it correctly. That I was sloppy about assessing what was behind someone’s eyes, such as by letting my preconceived notions about that person influence me.
I have trouble now, making eye contact with people, because I don’t want others to see what’s behind my eyes. Though they probably still can anyway, if they’re able to and want to.
I don’t know how to let people in. A large reason is because I, myself, don’t want to see what’s behind my own eyes. I’m uncomfortable with who I really am.
But since other people are transparent to me, it’s time for me to start being transparent as well. Here’s what’s behind my eyes, currently:
I’m in a world where I limit myself and don’t take action. I am feeling some hidden, immense anguish. I am honest. I know what love is, I give it and I receive it.
I predict that what’s behind my eyes will change, at some point. And when it changes, I hope that I’ll be comfortable showing people what’s behind them, whether good or bad.