For those of us born with normal eyesight, the eyes are the first thing we look to for emotional feedback. To know if someone is interested in us and gives a damn about us, we just need to see whether we are the focus of their gaze. The most heartbreaking feeling is to see the look of disinterest in the eyes of our parents and loved ones.
Love Can Be Felt
It is painful when no one pays attention to us. As children we are very sensitive to non-verbal cues, the look of anger, irritation, disinterest, being unwanted, a burden to be tolerated is all conveyed in a look. I remember looking at the faces of my father, grandmother and other family hoping for a caring look but most of the time all I’d see in the eyes was rejection, dislike, and hate. And I couldn’t understand what is wrong with me, I began feeling ugly inside as well as outside.
“Our caregivers create our infant brain via “limbic resonance,” they report, the resonating of an adult’s limbic brain with an infant’s limbic brain — via attuned deep eye contact. “By looking into his eyes and becoming attuned to his inner state, a mother can intuit her baby’s feelings and needs,” they write. “The regular application of that knowledge changes a child’s emotional makeup.”
When the mother attunes to the infant with deep love, the infant learns that love is safe, forms a secure attachment, feels a sense of belonging and a sense of peace. “Attachment penetrates to the neural core of what it means to be a human being,” they write, and thus the book’s title. It’s all about love and nothing but love”
Still Face Experiment: Dr. Edward Tronick
According to Dan Siegal, a psychologist who specializes in early parental bonding, “every child yearns for and must have, this eye contact for healthy emotional development to occur. Siegal, who founded a new field of research known as interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB), has proved that the mother’s gaze plays a critical role in how we develop empathy.
Without such mirrored transmission, children deprived of the mother’s gaze are likely to feel disconnected from others later in life. Many of them will struggle to heal this disconnect in destructive ways ranging from dysfunctional love to substance abuse”
The world will turn
And the seasons will change
And all the lessons we will learn
Will be beautiful and strange
We’ll have our fill of tears
Our share of sighs
My only prayer is that you realize…
You’ll always be beautiful in my eyes
I remember my own road to healing happened one cold early morning while waiting for the train’s arrival with my son. I began relating stories of my troubled childhood, I became aware of my son looking at me with deep compassion that I had lived with such pain and hurt. Suddenly, I felt a shift happening deep within when I realized, he felt my pain and miraculously I did not feel alone. By the time the train arrived, I was feeling warm and cozy.