How Do You See Yourself!

by DavalosMcCormack on July 24, 2009

I always thought it would be fascinating to be able to see myself as others see me. Well, perhaps fascinating is not quite the right word, scary might be more accurate. Nonetheless wouldn’t it be interesting to see how we appear to others?

Sometimes at work people say to me “how come you are always happy?” I usually put it down to the large amounts of narcotics in my bloodstream at any one time, mostly because I wasn’t aware that I was looking particularly happy.

I didn’t feel I was standing there grinning or smiling and certainly not laughing. And yet people seem to think I’m happy.

And for the most part I am. I just didn’t know that’s how I looked.

I shouldn’t have been surprised because studies show that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal, only 7 percent is based on what we say. Which means, people are gleaming an awful about you just by the way you hold yourself and act, and a lot less by what you say.

So, lately, I have been indulging in my favorite hobby, people watching, looking at people’s faces and their body language to see how they come across.

What struck me most forcibly was a lady who thought I was staring at her a bit too long! In fact she struck me right across the face.

But once I had recovered from that what struck me in a metaphorical sense was just how serious or downright glum most people look when they are not aware anyone is watching. They look as if they are not having a good time.

Now the reason for that could be simply that they are not having a good time. Lord knows there’s enough reasons today for us all to be miserable bastards. Unemployment, savings in the toilet, the value of our home sinking and most of our favorite TV shows in summer re-runs and even when they weren’t they were still crap.

But I have to believe that many people are just unaware how they look to others, how they come across, with the end result that they come across in ways that don’t really reflect who they are or how they feel.

There were numerous times I saw someone looking as if they were almost on the verge of tears until a friend or acquaintance came over and then instantly their face lit up, their body language changed; in a flash they switched from being someone you wanted to stay the heck away from to someone you wouldn’t mind hanging out with.

So why aren’t we more like that all the time? Well, unless you are the Speaker of the House and have trained your face not to move from a permanently-smiling state of immobility (I assume it’s training, though others have suggested she achieves the same result through certain, shall we say, chemical enhancements. Se habla ‘botox”)… unless you have done that most of us just aren’t aware of what our faces are doing most of the time, or what message they are sending to others.

The first time I went on television I was horrified (so were viewers apparently which is why the first time was almost my last.. but that’s another story) I was getting to see myself the way others saw me, seeing how I talk, move my head, gesture, even what words I used a lot. It was a very unpleasant experience.

But it was also quite an enlightening one too. It made me aware of things I did that I hadn’t been aware of; the way I would tilt my head sometimes, smile for no apparent reason, drool. So I worked hard on getting rid of those irritating little behaviours.

The next time I was on TV I still had some odd mannerisms, but not nearly as many, and so I worked on those and after a while I managed to get rid of most of those as well. I still looked and sounded weird, just not as weird.

The point is that most of us have these little personal ‘tics’, things we do without being aware of it. Mostly they are innocuous, but they give other people a message about who we are, how we are. And most of the time we are not even aware of it.

So, next time you are out and about, watch people who are on their own, look at their face and try and gleam who they are from their expression.

Then think about yourself and the kind of image your expression projects.

After all, you never know who is watching.

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