On Vision And Visibility

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. ~Jonathan Swift

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How do you see people? Do you look at them, over them, through them, or into them? Perhaps, that alone is a question of faith. How deeply do you dare to look?

Sometimes what we see gets in the way of what we’re looking at. Yes, you read that correctly. Often we rarely see past our own assumptions.  We are each vulnerable to being noticed.  We know most people don’t get past the clothes on our backs or the expressions on our faces. The eyes only see a fraction of what is there…the heart sees the rest.

There are people who want to be the center of attention, others who wish to remain unnoticed, and those who enjoy mingling and getting to know others. Given the situation we might become all three of those types. We want to be seen until we are and don’t want to be. Or we don’t want to be seen until we aren’t and want to be. And so the story goes. Have you ever felt invisible, meaningless; like those in the room with you don’t know or care you’re there?  We are put here to love and be loved by others. We can’t do that if we aren’t willing to see or be seen.

What is in your line of vision? Do you surpass all others in view of the object of your attention? It’s a human tendency to zero in on our subject and neglect all surplus matter. The perspective differs depending on whether you are the lens, the subject, or the surplus matter. The point is we are each important whether we realize it or not. Let someone know you see them. Show them they matter to you.

Do you see others the way you wish to be seen? People deal on all levels. Some are only interested in superfluous relationships or fair weather friends while others want more than acquaintances. Compassionate people generally peer into souls. They feel the weight of other people’s worlds.

It might not be so much what you see but the acknowledgment of your vision. There is a difference between being recognized and being known…it’s all about the relationship. You have the opportunity to look for God in every face you see. You have the power to validate someone’s existence with a smile, a touch, or a word.

I wish your day to be filled with beautiful encounters. May you encourage the downtrodden and strengthen the weak. May you be a positive influence and make a difference in someone’s life. Might your compassion be a light in this dark world. May your vision give another hope that no one journeys this world alone.

Sight is a faculty; seeing is an art. ~ George Perkins Marsh

28 thoughts on “On Vision And Visibility

  1. Thanks for the great post. It squared with a recent adventure . Last week a bizarre experience left me giddy with secret glee. I didn’t try to keep a straight face as I walked down a busy street. I looked directly at people walking toward me, smiling as if I knew them. At least 80% were wrapped so tightly in their own thoughts they were not aware of their surroundings at all. Some saw me and glanced away. A few nervously smiled back. Fewer still, maybe half a dozen in fifteen minutes, gave me a full smile in return, almost as if they knew my secret. What a fun experiment, and totally in line with what you are saying. I wanted to be seen, but even more, I wanted to spread my joy.

    Obviously we’re not always aware of our preference. Maybe there’s another mode beyond what you label above: Tuned out.

    • I adore that you’re a joy spreader! Happiness is contagious! I’ve gone out in a funk before and come upon just the right people who helped me adjust my attitude.
      And yes, there are definitely those who are tuned out.
      There is a story behind this post, but I really didn’t want to make the post about it…but the bottom line is we can each do our part to make others feel included. Life is not a one way street.

  2. Suzi, this post is chock full of some very WISE insight!

    And I LOVE that first quote.

    I have a tendency to really see people. Well, not see them as in ‘see’, but more about ‘feeling’ them. And I think that’s because I’m so sensitive to energy. I can sometimes feel someone who just walks by me on the street, without knowing them or even speaking. Like Sharon shared above in her comment, I will often walk down the street and make direct eye contact with people and smile. Some will smile back and say hello; others look away. In today’s world, it seems that many people are losing that “contact/connection” with each other. But I still try and do my part in allowing others to know that I SEE them – acknowledge them.

    FAB post, my friend!
    X

    • I love smiling at people and chatting them up as I shop. Generally, I can be quite shy if I’m thrust into a room of relative stranger, but put me in a mall or at an event I’m Ms. Social! It’s amazing the things strangers can connect through given the chance.

  3. I love your final quote, Suzi! Yes, I think most of us can empathize with this. Sometimes we want to be seen and acknowledged; other times, we don’t. And sometimes, we find it hard knowing just what we want when, isn’t it?!

    • I sometimes don’t know what I want, but I take solace in knowing what I get is most likely exactly what I need…if nothing else, it usually makes me think and somehow a lesson is derived from it.

  4. You have the opportunity to look for God in every face you see. You have the power to validate someone’s existence with a smile, a touch, or a word.

    I wish your day to be filled with beautiful encounters. May you encourage the downtrodden and strengthen the weak. May you be a positive influence and make a difference in someone’s life. Might your compassion be a light in this dark world. May your vision give another hope that no one journeys this world alone.

    Sight is a faculty; seeing is an art. ~ George Perkins Marsh

    * * * * *

    Well said, Suzi. I’ve found that when I validate someone with a smile, they tend to smile back. Not always, but often.

    • I’m from a very small town where people automatically wave and smile, whether they know you or not, and usually they do. After spending the past six weeks there it was almost sad to travel back to my city streets where people turn there heads away or are angrily honking horns at other drivers.

  5. When we remember that every human being is made in the image of God, it tends to change the way to see them and our attitude about them, doesn’t it?

  6. I have to admit, I’m often wrapped up in thoughts or distracted by what I’m doing so I don’t really look at people. Yes, I see them, and when they make eye contact, I smile, but I’m not looking deeper. I don’t know if they are hurting, lonely, anxious, or happy.

    • Many people are wrapped in their own lives and don’t notice, but you do smile- so you notice enough to be friendly and that alone makes a difference in the lives of those who need a lift.

    • Many people are wrapped in their own lives and don’t notice, but you do smile- so you notice enough to be friendly and that alone makes a difference in the lives of those who need a lift.

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