Discover The Secret To Holding Confident, Strong Eye Contact With Anyone
Do you struggle with making eye contact? Do you tend to look away or cower on the inside when someone looks you in the eye? Do you have trouble sustaining eye contact once it’s been made?
Strong and confident eye contact is essential when it comes to creating extraordinary confidence, and today, we’re going to be discussing how to develop strength in this area.
Why is it so difficult to maintain eye contact with someone who we consider to be attractive or powerful or otherwise intimidating? Well, there is probably some argument to be made regarding evolutionary psychology, threat and dominance; and while that point is probably perfectly valid, it’s not a rabbit hole I would like to go down today.
Instead, I prefer to visit this subject from an angle that will help you to transform your mindset. Consider this:
What if this problem is completely built on a foundation of insecurity?
What I find with many of my clients is that they fear eye contact because they are worried about other people’s opinions of them (to a debilitating degree). They’re scared that they’ll be too intense or lack a connection with the other person or not blink enough—some are even scared that the person will be able to see emotions or personality aspects they’re trying to hide. There are as many fears as there are fish in the sea.
We’re afraid of being disliked; we’re afraid of being judged; we’re afraid of people seeing right through us. We’re scared.
So how do we overcome any fear? We face it.
To really confront this problem, we must begin to make eye contact with people. This was something I got to practice in spades during a personal growth workshop that my wife taught many years ago in Portland. One of the activities directly corresponding to this issue that we explored during the seminar was called “milling.” We’d walk around the room and meet up with one person at a time. We’d then make non-verbal eye contact with the person for one minute and then move on to another partner.
The main challenge was to breathe, stay mindful, and let go of any useless motives as we moved through the exercise.
While it’s unrealistic to imagine that you’ll have this exact environment for openness and experimentation available to you outside the realm of a specially designed seminar, you can begin to do this work on a personal level one interaction at a time:
As you approach each conversation:
- Make eye contact,
- Breathe naturally
- Stay present in the conversation
As you walk away from the encounter: take stock of your reaction to it:
- Were you trying to get something from the other person?
- Were you worried about what the other person thought the whole time?
- Were you able to let go and listen attentively, offering a piece of yourself rather than looking for something to get?
Over time, you will start to feel more and more relaxed, and you’ll find that you look people in the eye naturally and comfortably without any effort at all.
Sure, there might be times when one particular person or another will present a greater challenge, but in general, you’ll feel more at ease with the idea of looking another person in the eye.
You can also approach the exercise mentioned above with just one person with whom you feel particularly comfortable. Simply explain the idea to a friend, partner or other loved one who you trust, and see if he or she is willing to give it a try. Yes, it might be weird, and you might laugh at first, but eventually, you’ll drop into it and something life changing will happen.
Of course, it’s always an option to check out one of my many confidence seminars, where we approach this work as a group and attack our fears together. These programs work wonders for clients of all backgrounds and confidence levels, and this is just one of the many eye-opening exercises in which we will engage ourselves as we explore self-confidence in a whole new way.
In the meantime, if you still don’t feel comfortable asking a friend to help you, start with practicing on yourself.
Take a few minutes out of your day, set a timer, and look yourself in the eye using a mirror for two minutes.
No matter what happens—you judge yourself, you lose track of your thoughts, you tense up, you go blank—just breathe and maintain eye contact.
This will help you to notice patterns in your “eye contact behavior.”
- Do your eyes tend to shift?
- Do you blink a lot to try to avoid the awkwardness?
- If something stands out to you, ask yourself how it makes you feel to be on the receiving end of it.
Think about how you feel when you’re talking to someone and the person is looking away from you—it sucks, right? It makes us feel unimportant not to be looked at when we’re talking. As human beings, we truly crave eye contact . . . so give the people what they want!
When you go out into the world, keep these habits in mind. Try to practice the same habits that you are creating when you look at yourself in the mirror—breathe, relax, and stay present. If you break eye contact or fall into old habits, that’s fine! Take note, then kindly get yourself back on the horse by re-establishing that eye contact.
Stay kind to yourself as you work toward increased confidence in this area . . . and stay kind to others: never forget that at any given moment, someone else is dealing with a hardship you can’t even imagine—simple eye contact and a kind smile from you might just make his or her day.
As always, feel free to “like,” subscribe or share your thoughts below. What tactics or exercises are working well for you? What challenges are you facing when it comes to making eye contact? Share you experiences with the group and share this video with someone you love. We could all use some increased confidence when it comes to connecting with one another. Let’s spread the word, because the more confidence there is in the world, the better everything will be for everyone.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.
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