One of the primary pathways to an enduring happiness is facilitating a sense of connection. When we feel connected, we feel balanced. And when we feel balanced, we often feel happy. The problem is: as we grow up, we have to learn how to shield ourselves from vulnerability, so we build up walls or put on armor that make connection more difficult.
One of the most powerful (and challenging) practices to do is look into another person’s eyes for a prolonged period of time. It immediately makes us feel vulnerable! It may not matter whether it’s a stranger or someone you’ve been in a partnership with for over 50 years (sometimes this makes it more difficult). But when we do it, it’s fascinating what arises.
Check out this short video from Soul Pancake to see some of the surprising results of people making connection:
One of the defining characteristics of compassion is recognizing our common humanity.
Behind my eyes and your eyes are the same fundamental needs, to feel cared about and understood—to feel a sense of belonging.
When we look into another’s eyes and see this, it can melt the barrier and uncover the connection that’s always been there. This is an essential element for uncovering happiness.
Try this out as an experiment for yourself:
Today, look into the people’s eyes that you meet and see the person behind the eyes. What happens when you bring the mindset that this person is “Just like me?” This mindset understands that underneath it all, this person wants the same things I do, to feel cared about, to feel understood, to feel accepted, a sense of belonging, and to be happy.
Put your biases aside, test it out and see what you notice.
Allow your experience to be your guide.
Adapted from Mindfulness & Psychotherapy