Emotions 101

Have you noticed that when someone is talking, we see much more than just the words they are speaking. We see their facial expressions and body language. This means that even if they are saying one thing, our facial expressions and body language may be saying something entirely different. We have all done it!

You probably already know that when someone crosses their arms during a conversation, they are supposedly closing themselves out of the conversation, to some degree. But, is this always true? Could there be situations where the person is simply cold and has folded their arms to keep themselves warm? While this is possible, I know for me, examining their face could be a further clue. If they are frowning during the discussion, and their arms are folded, you can pretty much bet that they don’t like what they are hearing, or, at the very least, are getting turned off.

Most people don’t even realize the body language they express. This can cause them problems when the body language is counter to their spoken message. I have been speaking with people who look everywhere but in my eyes.  Some say this is rude; I think it could be insecurity or shyness.  What do you think? Or, what about when they make a strange face when someone mentions something unexpected. Then you reacts negatively (like, why you looking at me like that?)  and leaves the person wondering what they did wrong. These communication missteps happen frequently are can be the cause of bigger issues later on if not resolved.

It’s amazing that when people play poker, they seem to be able to completely squelch their facial expressions and with good reason; they could lose money if they don’t. Having a “poker face” as they call it, is an essential strategy during game play. This takes practice and people sometimes give themselves away during a hand. But, overall, they can freeze up their faces to become expressionless. Funny what we do when money is involved.

Why can’t we use that poker face during ordinary conversations? It seems like it would be in our best interests so that those expressions don’t betray us by showing our true intentions. The trouble is, even if you could bring your poker face to conversations, you’d still have to contend with your body language. No one has ever made mention of a poker body, stiff and emotionless. People are usually seated when playing poker, so the issue rarely presents itself, but I’m sure some genius has discovered a way to tell stress by observing hands, arms neck, veins, etc.

If this subject hits home for you and you are experiencing difficulty in communicating with people, help is available. Someone very close to me wears her feelings ‘on her sleeves’, and she knows that.  I think she would get good value about of books and seminars on advanced body language.

Like anything, be careful of the information presented and make sure you are listening to people who are qualified on the subject. Otherwise, your communication may actually be worse if you don’t find the right kind of training and you end of expressing negative emotions even more!

Overall, my recommendation is, if you do let in on your emotions through your face and body, learn to be more forthcoming with the words behind it.  That would help!





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