Some would say the language of love, and though I definitely rank it up there with the most important chemistry we have, I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest language per se, if we’re talking practical methods of communication.
One that’s just slightly easier to read and understand, is body language. In fact, the language of love is best expressed through body language, so there’s the testament to my claim!
Still, body language, like love, can be tricky. It’s not always accurate because some of us react to our internal dialogue differently to others, but the basic model can still inform us of human undercurrents in a way that mere words can not always achieve.
I personally am very sensitive to body language, though I don’t communicate this often so that the people around me are not on edge, but such is the case with many introverted and analytical minds; they tend to block out the external and zone in on the internal, underneath and inside factors of everything. I know that if someone told me they were adept at the basics of body language and often enjoyed reading it, I’d start to wonder what on earth I might be subconsciously speaking to said person, and would find it harder to relax! Please relax, because now that I’m making you aware, you can read mine too!
This isn’t going to be an intense body language lesson, but an introduction or an insight, and also a reminder for everyone. I’d like to remind you all to sometimes still your minds when you are talking to someone, or in a social gathering. Especially if someone is reaching out to you or something doesn’t seem quite right. Mute the scenario, be still and tune in to the visuals, which you naturally do anyway, but you don’t always focus on it due to distraction and ego, and so are sometimes unaware of what you’ve just read. You don’t always have to know exactly what it means either, if you’re really tuned in, you can often instinctively get a grasp of what emotions or possible issues might be present.
I am often the woman at the dinner party that sits back and absorbs the energy of the gathering, the words become secondary, and the story between the spoken lines is magnified. The chosen structure of the sentences also speak a thousand words, but mostly, the overall facial expressions, micro-movements in facial muscles, hand gestures, tone and pitch of voice, eye directions, body direction and posture, explains more than the story spoken itself. When you sit and watch (subtly, it’s rude to stare!) you can pinpoint the one that wants to be heard, the insecure one, the arrogant one, the jealous one, the fellow observer, and the secret extrovert that is dying to shine, among many others. In observing all the types of characters, I like to listen to the one that wants to be heard, secure the insecure, neutralise the arrogant or jealous, smile knowingly at the observer and praise the secret extrovert.
You can do so much when you tune in to those around you and forget yourself for a moment.
Body language ranges from the more obvious crossed arms, which can often be a tense barrier, a comfortable safety net, protection against cold or a default habit, to the tiniest micro-expressions around the mouth or eyes muscles. If you want to go one further, you can also read a lot by the direction of someones eyes when in conversation!
When a body position carries many possibilities of interpretation, other factors need to come into play to attempt to accurately read what you are seeing. Let me give an exaggerated example.
A man is sitting in conversation, and he is sitting back with arms crossed. This could just be a comfortable habit and relaxed position, but on further observation, one of his legs is crossed over the other, away from the person he is speaking to and his foot is slightly tapping the air. Foot tapping is often a sign of impatience and wanting to move, or get away. It emulates walking or running; a need for immediate physical action. I say ‘often’, because it could also be a really good track playing, and his foot taps because he wants the physical action of moving to the music!
Good music aside, his leg is facing away, so that creates another barrier along with the crossed arms. Now to be absolutely sure, we can check his facial expression. Although he appears to be nodding and smiling along, if we look at some of the telling areas; eyes, mouth and jaw, we can see slight tension in the jaw and his eyes don’t have the ‘sparkle’ or present focus of a true smile. Last but not least, when it’s his turn to talk, his eyes often glance up and to the right, which is often where your eyes go to imagine or fabricate something. We could surmise from all this that perhaps this man is in an uncomfortable position, possibly lying about something or being asked to imagine something he is not comfortable with, and so the rest of his body is protecting him and wanting to get away from the situation.
As I said, an exaggerated scenario just to give you an idea of the exciting and very telling minefield that is body language.
The language is best ‘spoken’ and read when used to enhance your relationships with anyone in your life, you can learn to sense when someone is tired but trying to appear alert, or sad but putting on a happy face, scared but trying to be brave, saying it’s the truth and lying. Then help them with their struggle, even the liar; liars are often insecure.