The Eyes Have It

What makes you feel truly seen?

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
The Iris of 75% of the World
The Iris of 75% of the World

A client exhaled, relaxing the corners of his brown eyes, and said, “Thank you.  I feel seen.”  This compliment melted me.   I started thinking about what it really means to see and feel seen.  I thought about my own eyes, just your regular set of brown dots sitting atop the mask.  My father called them muscadines.  

You don’t know much about me by looking only at my eyes because 75% of the world’s population has brown eyes.  I could be just about anyone from anywhere with any backstory if the only thing you saw of me was the iris.  I could be any gender.  I could be from any continent.  I could be any race.  I could be any religion.  I could even be any age because the eyes stop growing at three months old.  

The brain seeks to understand by recognizing patterns and sorting clues.  We categorize, profile, stereotype and bucket by clues that support a conscious or unconscious bias.  Our skin, our god, our gender, our accent, our school, zip code, attire, weight, the way we love—all serve as clues that get filtered through a bias.

But, what if the only clue you had about someone was that the iris was brown?  You’d know really nothing at all about that person except that the iris is brown and not a color other than brown.  You’d then have to go into exploratory mode to start to know that person, to really see that person.  

Whenever I see brown eyes, I am going to remember that those eyes represent 75% of the world’s population, and that’s all.  There are no other conclusions to draw from that one clue until the work is done to know the individual behind the eyes.  And what about blues and greens?  My husband has green eyes which are 2% of the world’s population.  I’ll have to think about what this all means for him. 

I’m not sure what I’ll do with this iris observation, but I do know the greatest compliment I can receive from a client or a friend or basically any person in my orbit is, “Thank you. I feel seen.” 

I’d like to learn what makes you feel truly seen.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Thrive Global on Campus//

    4 Life Lessons I Learned From Refugees

    by Cassidy Murray

    Healing; It’s an Inside Job

    by Johnnie Calloway

    Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown Offers Advice for Others with Migraine in the New Year

    by Christina D. Warner, MBA

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.