Posted by: Judy | August 29, 2017

20 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I’ve worked, I’ve discovered a deeper reason for exploring each “Thing.” Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I’ve worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I’ve made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come. It’s important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:

20. ā€œI have a hard time making eye contact with people. I look away a lot when Iā€™m speaking. I get startled very easily and it takes me awhile to get my heart rate back to normal.ā€

My sister’s response:

My response:

Making eye contact with one of my abusers was something they saw as permission to go on the offensive. Not making eye contact did not guarantee my safety, but it improved my odds.

In order to make eye contact, I have to make a concerted effort. I also have to be careful to not go overboard.

Here’s the thing about eye contact: In some cultures, it indicates openness, honesty, connection. In other cultures, it’s disrespectful, a challenge, intimidating.

Eyes are truly the window to the soul. It isn’t true that a person is unable to look someone in the eye and lie. People do it all the time. In fact, a liar is more likely to make eye contact in order to prove they aren’t lying. If I don’t know someone, I endeavor to give them the benefit of the doubt until they give me reason to do otherwise.

I had a friend who reveled in telling tall tales. It frustrated him no end when I refused to buy into his stories. I don’t know how I knew. I do know it re-enforced my dislike of lying. I do know how ironic it is that I write fiction. However, there is a difference between sharing a story for entertainment, with the clear understanding it’s fiction, and sharing a story with the intent to deceive, even if only for a few minutes. Those who knowingly share fabrications with the intent to deceive, to trick and lead astray, reveal a lack of respect for the other person. I don’t care for prank-type shows. It’s about making someone else look foolish for one’s own amusement.

Looking away a lot is a result of the fact that I excel at reading body language. If I see a negative response, I will change what I’m saying in order to make the other person more comfortable even if I must sacrifice of my own comfort. I’ve had to practice not doing that.

I hate being startled. Hypervigilance comes in handy. It’s also extremely tiring.

What did I do to improve? Practiced. Improving my self-confidence also helped. Self-confidence improved with practice and succeeding. It took me a long time to realize that even failure had it’s own kind of success. I’d made the attempt.

David Rutherford of Team Frog Logic, along with other SEALs I follow, talks about “embracing the suck of life.” I’m sorry I don’t remember which SEAL advised: “Plan to fail. It’s the only way you see how far you’re really able to go. Once you find your breaking point, you’re able to better plan your training for success.”

God knew we would fail. This is why He provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, to save us. Success. I’ll keep practicing making eye contact.

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