I wanted to share with you all something I am beginning to become aware of in myself. I’m becoming more aware of all the things I am not aware of!
Yeah, interestingly, I am finding myself called to examine subtle ways that I undermine my partner or people close to me, without even realizing it. Not because I’m a bad person, but just because I have habits that don’t feel good or empowering to other people when they are the target of them.
I’m not talking about huge or dramatic things, but small movements, facial expressions, postural habits, and that kind of thing. A fleeting look of disdain, a roll of the eyes, a sigh… all of these subtle signs communicate volumes to the people around me, and yet, I haven’t really acknowledged this up to now.
The last time I remember really studying my behavior, movements, and words was over 20 years ago at circus school. On our first day we had physical theatre class and the task was to walk to the middle of the stage, say our name, and walk off the other side.
Sounds simple, right?
I remember to this day, the surprise and horror of finding that the smallest changes in posture, voice tone, a shrug of the shoulders, a flick of the eyes COMPLETELY changed the experience of the viewer and the relationship with the person onstage. It was mind-blowing.
So why don’t we ever learn or focus on this in real life?
We would probably all have a much better experience and feel more understood if we were aware of how our inadvertent body language affects the people around us. Our professions of love and caring sound much better when accompanied by a warm and open smile rather than a roll of the eyes. Or an attempt to say No confidently and compassionately is taken much better when we give full eye contact and stay square on to the person we are talking to rather than turning away and dropping our eyes.
We all respond to these subtle cues from a very early age, in fact, some of our actions and responses may be learned from our parents or caregivers. Does that cold, shrug of the shoulder that your Dad does drive you crazy? Do you have a similar gesture that you do without knowing it?
These types of self-reflections can become more important, the deeper we go into a relationship. We are on our best behavior for the first few weeks or months, but given time, we all revert to our habitual responses unless we work to become aware of and have more choice around how we act.
So that disdainful toss of my head when my partner suggests something different, or that roll of my eyes when he brings up a certain topic…AGAIN…. At the dinner table. These are things I am working with noticing for myself because I don’t want to give the impression that his ideas aren’t important, or I’m not interested. I love him and therefore I have a responsibility to own not just my feelings and emotions but to consider how my reactions come across to him.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t be myself, or I have to modify all my mannerisms, but it does mean I want to take a good, hard look at myself and my body language to make sure I am sending a congruent message with how I actually feel.
If I want to show I care, then I want that to come across in thought, word, AND deed.
Have you ever taken a moment to consider your body language and what it portrays to others? Becoming aware of ourselves on all levels is part of my work in Somatic Coaching.
Book a free consult with me and let’s talk.
With interest and inquiry,
Originally published on Pleasure for Health.
Cover photo by Pexels
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