Watch the YouTube ‘I’m a Believer’ clip from the movie Shrek.
There is The Dragon, Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona, Puss in Boots, The Gingerbread Man (on a crutch), 3 Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Three Blind Mice, Farkle, Ferguson and Felicia, Queen Lillian and King Harold, Doris, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Merlin, Brogan, Cookie, Gretchen, Humpty Dumpty, and Kitty Softpaws all dancing, singing and rocking out to ‘I’m a Believer’.
Could we live our lives scripted from that scene? I want to.
I know it’s a fairy tale. It makes us happy to watch it.
When did we get the memo, ‘That’s not real life?’
What if we embodied that scene in our everyday lives? What could happen?
Maybe start with ‘soft eyes’.
2 episodes of The Wire refer to ‘soft eyes’.
The show’s characters use this phrase to suggest that hard eyes are limited in what they can perceive, because they’re focused mainly on surface pieces.
Soft eyes, on the other hand, are more flexible and therefore able to perceive additional layers and dimensions. Hat tip to The Wire for that.
I suggest ‘soft eyes’ to my clients in a less poetic context.
I tell them: Literally, soften your eyes. Relax your eye sockets.
Let your tight ’serious’ face take a breath. In your eyes, ease up. When you’re engaging with someone and you’ve got soft eyes, the message your eyes send is ‘I’m with you’. Even if you’re firing them, challenging their assumptions, or delivering bad news, soft eyes are a powerful non-verbal cue that creates a felt sense of connection, instead of separateness and judgment.
Soft eyes say ‘I’m disagreeing with your logic, not your worthiness.’
Soft eyes say ‘Yes, I’m the bearer of bad news. I’m sorry.’
Soft eyes say ‘You deserve my full attention. Here, you have it.’
Soft eyes convey love.
Body language supplements our spoken words with compassion and connection. This makes it possible for the most important conversations to unfold without anyone personalizing the situation and everyone walks away feeling known and respected.
Start dancing, even if you have a crutch.