Look 'Em in the Eyes

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Intentional Acts of Kindness

We have all heard of “pay it forward” and “random acts of kindness”, and participating in this is a blessing — for the receiver, and even more for the giver. I’m all for it and try to find ways to take part in the fun.

However, I started doing something a couple years ago that has had a bigger impact on my life — and hopefully on the lives of others. It is an activity that leads to thoughtful, focused, and intentional acts of kindness.

This is what I decided — I would look purposefully into the eyes of people I interacted with. That’s it — one tiny thing. But it turns out it wasn’t so tiny because our eyes hold oceans of information and emotions, and it is hard to hold someone’s gaze without taking some of that in.

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Making eye contact has a way of throwing fast, busy connections, like checking out at the grocery store, into slow motion. You cannot do this when you are blabbing on your phone or checking Facebook. It has made me put the blasted thing away when I’m about to engage — especially with people who are serving me.

My choice has led to fascinating conversations and some meaningful exchanges of kindness. Sometimes I end up being the beneficiary. People amaze me.


Intentional acts of kindness have a lasting impact because they match the deepest needs of the receiver with the best of what the giver has to offer.


Would you be willing to make this commitment? Maybe you already have. If you have or if you do, let me know about your experiences — and pass on the challenge.

“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.” -Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

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