The Little Things: Ep. 2 People Watching
Welcome to “The Little Things.” A new series here on By Michaela Christine where I take monotonous doings of everyday life and turn them around- showing you how effectual certain experiences could in fact be. Finding inspiration, excitement, and solace in the little things we experience day to day is a key player in the development of finding your best self. While on a journey of self-improvement- otherwise known as life if you’re a normal human being who yearns for some form of influence on the world- we often focus on the big picture characteristics: becoming more kind, trustworthy, considerate… essentially the pillars of character they ingrained in us at the start of high school. But equally as often we forget to pause, breath, and take time to soak up the minutiae on a daily basis.
Practicing mindfulness throughout our days, even during the most habitual of tasks and actions, will undoubtedly improve your perspective on life. One of my recent posts, where I talk about altering your view on the world- literally- in an effort to make your surroundings seem like your own creation, a work of art, was the first of this series. Today we’re talking about: people watching.
As being an inherently introverted person, people watching has long been a preferred hobby of mine. There’s something about getting to know people from merely observing and studying them from a distance- without actually talking to them- that has always intrigued me. Now, I’m not saying that you have to be an introvert to like people watching. In fact, people watching is something that people of all personality types enjoy. But, the reasons why they enjoy people watching is what differs.
Why I believe people watching is so valuable:
- Hands free, Mind free- Think of the last time you were out in public somewhere and for more than 5 minutes you were completely idle, with nothing occupying your hands or mind. I bet you can’t think of a moment– which is completely normal. We live in a world where we’re expected to always be doing something, no matter what that something is, and people watching involves absolutely nothing to toggle with whatsoever. Use the moment you’re people watching to truly involve yourself in the activity and practice an alternate form of meditation. Though you’re mind is not completely idle being that you’re, well, watching people, just make sure you’re completely ingrained in that moment and I’ll promise you’ll come out of it feeling refreshed.
- We’re Not Alone- The only people we usually observe are those who are in direct contact with us; friends, teachers, family, co-workers, the list goes on. People watching is the opposite as it lets us observe beings who we are not in direct contact with- thus normally the type of people whom we necessarily wouldn’t socialize with. And from this, perhaps you’ll realize that there are people out there with wildly similar mannerisms to you, who act the same way in large social groups as you, or even experience the same treatment from a friend as you do. Despite what you’re going through you’re bound to encounter a being who makes you feel like you’re not alone while people watching. Better yet, build up the guts and strike a conversation with that person.
- The World is Vast- While people watching, especially in large metropolitan areas or a very diverse setting, you’ll encounter many, many different types of people. Take this time to recognize and appreciate the variety of humans out there. For people who live in small towns or go to the same places on an everyday basis- which there is nothing wrong with- it’s easy for your perception of the world to shrink and forget about the vastness of the country, or even universe. The differences in people’s race, personality, gender, social status, interests, and occupations make the world what is it today. People watching will surely cause you to appreciate everybody’s differences and put the world into perspective.
- Judgment- People watching is an extremely introspective activity. It naturally causes you to make assumptions about the people walking past you. Whether these assumptions are good or bad, they’re judgements at the core– and judging people is most definitely not as horrible as it is perceived to be. Judging others, especially within the confines of your own mind, allows you to realize just how positively or negatively you interpret others upon first glance. Consequently, it should be a wake up call if you’re not pleased with your judgment, and implore you to alter your cynicalness. If you realize that you’re consistently putting others down, then make an effort to change that.
- Inspiration- At a more lightweight level, people watching provides ample inspiration for your exterior also. Whether that’s a person influencing you to experiment with a certain hair color, a crazy type of shoe, a new makeup look, the inspiration is endless. A lot of my outfit inspiration is derived from people watching. NYC is the hub of innovative style and I’m so incredibly lucky to have such inspiring people walking before me at every moment. If you don’t live in a big city, then just go to a spot where there’s simply a lot of people. A mall, a beach, a park, or even sit your butt on a bench in a busy downtown area.