Look long enough to actually see…

The Jack’s Winning Words blog had this quote today – “Everything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.”  (Gustave Flaubert)

Jack went on to write about staring contests and beginning to see things in common objects if one looks long enough. Our brains are wonderful at making connections and finding nuances within common objects, if we give it the chance to work long enough.

girl with nose chainIt occurred to me that the same thing applies to looking at people. Too often we look at someone without seeing them. We see a color or we see a hairstyle or we see a different way of dressing and we quickly look away without actually “seeing” the person that is there. There’s an old saying, “What you see is what you get”; but that saying requires that you actually see and not just look.

Did you look long enough to see the smile on the face of the person of color that you encountered? Did you see the twinkle in the eye of the girl with purple hair? After you looked at the bright colors of the outfit of that person, did you see the welcoming and friendly way they were holding themselves? Did you really see them or just look at them and jump to a conclusion?

Sometimes “seeing” the person may actually go beyond just looking. You might actuallyStephen_Hawking have to talk to them to “see” who they are. How many of us would have seen the genius in front of us if we just looked at Stephan Hawking sitting in his wheelchair? How many times have we looked at a special needs child and quickly looked away without seeing the real person that was there? Do we see and understand the person sitting on the corner begging for our help or just look at the bedraggled person there and turn away with a sense of pity and guilt.

Sometimes the things that mask the person that we look at prevent us from “seeing” the real person. Maybe we think that we don’t have the time to actually spend to see the person in front of us. A quick glance and a hastily drawn conclusion from that look is all that we can afford the time for. How sad that we don’t take the time to “see” and understand what and who we look at. It is truly our loss.

So, take the time and make the effort to see past the things that are there on your first look. Give your brain time to absorb more than that first glance can tell it. Hesitate and take in more before you draw a conclusion. Try to really see the person that is there and not just the stereotype that pops into your head based upon your first impression. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you see then.

There is another old saying that seems appropriate here. It is “Stop and smell the roses.” Maybe we also need to “Stop and see the person”. Have a great rest of the week.

I’ll be “seeing” you.

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