If you met me today you would probably describe me as warm, welcoming, huggable, soft, squishy even. This hasn’t always been the case. There was a time when if you were to choose a word to describe me you probably would have chosen intimidating, aloof, closed, hard and cold. You see my way of protecting myself, of projecting confidence of any kind, was to appear to be better than you.

It’s the ultimate joke, right?

Be confident to get out there and make some friends, meet new people. Do this by being aloof and shutting them out. Then complain of being lonely and shut off from people. Worst idea ever! But effective in terms of never having to expose who I really was. Too bad too because who I was was awesome.

Then one day at a course I attended we were stood in two rows facing each other. We stood, looking each other in the eye for minutes before shifting along the line. It did something for me. I learnt to look people in the eye that day. I learnt a lot about trusting people and being with people. I learnt to connect with them. I got that people weren’t that scary, not really. So I started to look people in the eye and smile. Bit by bit the wall around me crumbled. I felt it, people around me felt it. Then one day a new friend said how much he adored being around me. I was taken aback and asked WHY!? He said ‘You just have the welcoming, warmth thing going on, I love it’. And I cried.

Literally. Cried.

That wall was down, my heart out there and who I am was finally on display. I had done it! I was the happiest kid on earth. I had learnt a valuable lesson about connecting with people, allowing them in. I never forgot that lesson and remind myself of it when I start to shut people out.

Which brings me to today’s challenge. Head up. Stop looking at the floor. Today you’re going to look people in the eye. Making eye contact is something that is of great value to people. I don’t mean that awkward eye contact where you feel like you’re under a laser beam but enough for the other person to know that they matter to you. So get out there you and show people those peepers and ultimately, who you really are.

Daily challenge: Make eye contact today in your conversations. Tell us how you go!

  • oh I love this post Melissa. We really should look people in the eye and be confident with who we are. Rachel xx

  • I think I look people in the eye.. i think. I’m not actually 100% sure, but im sure ill notice it today 🙂 xx

    • I noticed for myself too. I was walking out of a show to my car with my head down, people everywhere. Then I realised I wasn’t setting a very good example to my challengers and lifted my head and smiled at them. A creepy old dude whistled at me, so maybe it wasn’t a GREAT plan. But heck, I interacted with people… So that’s all that matters. Haha.

  • Nicole Davey

    Alot of people mistake shyness to be snobby aloofness but nothing could be further from the truth.

    I struggle with looking people in the eyes but keeping trying. At least Ive stopped blushing 🙂

    • I think you’re absolutely right Nicole, they do. I know that was always the case for me. Or anxiety for rudeness. Sometimes I would abruptly leave situations because I felt overwhelmed and people would say how rude I was.

      Great job. But in all seriousness, I think blushing is adorable. I only flush in the heat, never do that sweet rosy blush some people do. 😉

  • I have no problem looking people in the eye, but I don’t let people in too easily. Have been bitten too many times by being nice to people and end up being treated badly for it.
    I knew you were awesome the minute I met you, that’s why that afternoon I had to hug you goodbye, that is really out of character for me to hug a first day person. lol

    • I’m sorry that’s happened to you. It sucks. And I don’t believe it should stop you from trying, a little wariness never hurt anyone. Just don’t let it become a lot, so much so that it’s a wall.

      I’m pretty proud you said that. Of you and of me. Go us, being open to people and giving relative strangers, virtual friends hugs!

  • sheribombblog

    Despite the fact that I do feel truly confident day to day, this is actually a big one for me. Probably the thing I need to work on the most. I can do it when the occasion calls for it. In a professional capacity and when I need to impress…but when it really matters? I look over peoples shoulders far too much. Not because I don’t care about them, more along the lines of them seeing too deeply into me. Not sure why that scares me though.

    • Insightful as always Sheri. Why indeed. The funny part, or perhaps scary for you, is I saw you from the minute I first minute you. Right through you lady. In a good way. So try as you might, you just can’t hide who you are sometimes. xo

      • sheribombblog

        And that my dear, is why I love you! And I know what you say is true. And I know that what lies deep within is worth seeing. On further reflection I wonder if what scares me is what they might do with it once they see it, because *it* is fragile. Damn über feeling Cancerians!

        • I think the feeling, the caring is the bestest best part of you. Big love. xo

  • This was one of those that were written with me in mind. Yes?

    Oh how I wish I had you close so I could talk to you all about this and have someone who would call me out on this bullshit. I will say that I have worked on keeping the head up for a long while, but I still don’t look at people. I can walk around the shops for hours and not be able to tell you about a single face. It’s like I look straight through people. Ok, elderly people I smile at. I love old people. They don’t intimidate me. They make me feel warm and welcome in their wise gaze.
    But I don’t look at people. I am so so warm, but I appear cold because I don’t want people to know the affect and thus power to hurt me, they have over me.

    • Absolutely was. We spoke a little about it at the post Blogopolis drinks. REALLY close to the end. It’s for you because I know how much you want this for yourself. And I know how much I want it for you. Holding your head up is the perfect first step. Seriously. Bit by bit the eye contact will come.

      Me too lady, me too. If I wasn’t so darn horrid over the phone {reception sucks and I get distracted easily} I’d say call me. But I can try if you think it would help.

      You’re not cold. I knew that the first time I really spoke to you. You’re warm and generous and kind. Maybe you and Sheri are born under the same sign. you and your big hearts.

      • Thing is I know once upon a time I did meet people’s eyes. It wasn’t that long ago either. I mean post kids I was still making eye contact. Just at some point I stopped and one day I realised that I just spent 2 hours at the shops and the only eye contact I made was with my son.

        Please do not fret. I hate talking on the phone (another when the fuck did that happen because pre kids you couldn’t get me off the phone), and I almost instantly bottle up verbally.

        I know it’s been a few days for me to reply to this. That last bit had me really choked up. I still tear up reading it now. I am extremely kind if you can see past my “bitch doesn’t care” facade.
        It was lovely too see you Friday. Had to be one of the highlights. You are just so beautiful and wonderful and you make me really smile.

        • Me too! You have no idea how excited I was that you were there. You are all these things, I think more people see it than you realise. xo