Eyes ~ The Greatest Benefit of Wearing a Mask

It has been said… “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

This is true. Although, I think in our society as a whole, we have come to discount the value of speaking “eye to eye”. What I mean is that most conversations nowadays involve people multitasking; most of us are looking at our task while speaking to someone nearby. We’re busy. And we are apparently so busy that we cannot be bothered to actually look into someone’s eyes when we’re talking to them. Well, most of the time anyway. That acceptance of distraction is kind of my point.

Ultimately, we’ve been “social distancing” and avoiding eye contact by choice via our driven lifestyles long before 2020 sprung it’s Jumanji of a year on us all.

This is evident, and more easily achieved, with the variety of ways to electronically entertain and distract ourselves in our current times. It has become commonplace, and almost expected, to not be looking at those with whom we’re in a conversation with. So, it seems weird to me to hear some of the specific complaints about wearing masks. Most of the complaints stem, at least in part, from the inability to see a person’s mouth and facial expressions. They say we gain many social cues from “reading” full facial expressions; which largely include the cheeks, mouth, and chin areas. (Yep. I’m full on ignoring all the political mask volleying going on. Lol)

Face mask eyes
Photo by gryffyn m on Unsplash

Nevertheless, I may be responding a touch rebelliously here. Yet, I can’t help but think there’s more to the complaints than a limited view of a face.

I think when we look into another person’s eyes it brings the whole conversation on to a bit more of a personal level. When we’re around others who are properly wearing a mask (by covering the mouth and nose) we are forced to actually look into a person’s eyes when we talk to them. Eye contact. It’s a rare and beautiful thing. Yet, it can be uncomfortable if we’re not used to doing so.

Yet, the eyes show a lot more emotion and intent than we’re acknowledging. It is entirely possible to pick up on a person’s moods or intentions by watching their eyes. There are some people that can pick up on a person’s devious intentions simply by the look and movement of their eyes. Yes. It’s true. Our eyes give away a lot more than we think they do.

As a result, the broad use of mask wearing is forcing a greater intimacy of interaction than we’ve long since been accustomed to. When we look directly into another person’s eyes, we can pick up on their joy, sadness, pity, excitement, contentment, exhaustion, boredom, and so many other states we humans experience in life.

And, to a certain degree, most people naturally feel compelled to respond to the emotions or needs of others. Hence, even more awkwardness when we are forced to look into another person’s eyes and recognize their needs. These masks simply won’t let us focus aimlessly around at another random part of the wearer’s face.

So, whether you’re a pro-mask or an anti-mask wearer where Covid-19 is concerned, there are definitely additional positive benefits to mask wearing. And one of those is the increased attention given to the eyes of those around us. There are real people with real substance and real life issues hiding behind those eyes.

So take a moment to notice. Acknowledge what is so clearly displayed above those stylish masks being worn by your fellow man. There are so many things to notice and acknowledge. And, it’s all on display for anyone who chooses to pay attention.

Once again, it comes down to a choice. A choice to pay attention to what is right in front of us. A choice to respond. It’s a choice to connect with our fellow man. This is our chance to really “see” the people we find ourselves talking to. The choice is yours. Choose wisely, my friend. Choose wisely.

Our eyes indeed provide a window, an open view, into our soul.


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