How many times do we look at something and not really see it? For example, does your watch have Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, or none at all? What color is your neighbor’s front door? Don’t peak – just think about whether you’ve ever noticed. Most of us walk around unobservant to almost everything going on around us.
So what is the difference between looking and seeing?
Webster’s says that to look means to direct your eyes in a particular direction, while in order to see, you must notice or become aware of someone or something by using your eyes. Becoming aware is key – it’s a wakening of the senses, an experiential process. For some, this comes naturally, but for a lot of us, it’s a skill that must be honed, like any other.
Tips on how to see and not just look:
- Pay attention to people and things around you
- Look for nuances and intricacies in things
- Take your time and be patient
- Look to understand the people closest to you
- Attend to nature whenever you are outside.
- Use all 5 senses to “see”
“The art of seeing has to be learned.”Marguerite Duras
Think about the last time you were in a museum. How long did you pause in front of the art? The Louvre found that people study the Mona Lisa for an average of just 15 seconds. 15 seconds to take in every line, every contour, ponder every meaning of what is perhaps the most famous painting in the world!
While it would be impossible to take the effort and time to see everything around us in any given day, it is important to take the time and see what is significant. You may be surprised by the beauty that is all around you. All you need to do is to stop looking and start seeing.