How you look at other people matters

Dear quarter lives,

When you look at someone in a strange way, you’re essentially saying to them with your eyes, “I think your existence is strange.” And what a horrible thing it is to feel like your existence is strange, like in some way you shouldn’t exist. I’ve had my fair share of stares these past few months, all because I look a little different. But what really upsets me is not that people stare but the fact that they think they’re entitled to stare. They think just because their eyes are stuck to their own bodies, they can use them whichever way they want. All I want to say is that a stare is just as violating as physical touch. When you undress someone with your eyes, you’re making them feel like you’re actually physically undressing them. You fill their bodies with fear, shame and disgust. It is a horrible thing to violate another with your eyes.

If you aren’t sure how you look at others, take note of your thoughts in those moments. They will tell you. Because whatever we think shows in our eyes. So be mindful of how you look at people.

One of the reasons I believe we have eyes is to greet other souls. But there are many ways to greet one another; with love, with joy, with pride, with fear, with compassion, with jealousy, with sorrow, with anger, with shame and with desire. You can welcome someone with your eyes. Or reject them so absolutely. You can send someone flowers with your eyes. Or stab them. So be kind with your eyes, dear quarter lives. Do not assume you know how to use your eyes just because you were born with them. These eyes are a sacred gift we have been blessed with, so we must learn to use them well.

Assume always that the other person knows when you look at them. We all feel it when an eye lands on our bodies, even if our backs are turned to the person looking. We are sentient beings and that means by definition we feel absolutely everything, even if our awareness hasn’t yet caught up to it. Like it is a crime to enter a house without permission, it is too a crime to trespass into another’s personal territory, be that with your eyes or with your hands. It all feels the same. Just because it isn’t illegal to look at someone inappropriately, doesn’t make it okay. We should always hold ourselves accountable before another holds us accountable.

With your eyes, dear quarter lives, you have the power to change someone’s present for better or worse, so use that power kindly and help someone feel more at ease.

Always with love,