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What's behind the body language?

Posted Sep 28 2009 10:11pm

Have you ever noticed how people change their physical shape depending on what they're talking about? We use our bodies to emphasize a point, to convince ourselves and others that we are speaking the truth. Often times we do this unconsciously, and even out of defense. The most typical stance is crossing our arms in front of the chest when we are trying to make our case about something (which is more about being scared to be "wrong" or vulnerable). There's also the hunched shoulders, the leg tapping, the elaborate hand gestures.

These are usually thought of as tics or bad habits to break. I disagree.

Body language gives us clues as to where the person is coming from. There are so many different ways that we can communicate with language. Have you ever found yourself feeling reactionary to what someone has said? Or noticed someone being reactionary to you? Paying attention to and being curious about the body language someone is using can help you let go of the judgment, and become more compassionate. To be able to listen openly.

What if we drop down underneath the physical movement to see what motivates us to change our shape? From here, you'll find that ultimately, we all want the same things. We want to be believed, supported, acknowledged, related to, and understood.

How often have you taken a deep breath, got yourself good and grounded, and stood up tall before you spoke? Doing so gives you a minute to collect yourself and get clear on what you really want to express. Even if you're not the one speaking at the moment, when you do this, the other person in the conversation will match your physical stance without even realizing it. This match will open the door to a deeper understanding of each other, and alignment with your own truth. 

Notice your body the next time you speak. Make a conscious choice to breathe, ground, and stand tall as you continue talking. Feel the difference.

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