The fifth most important lesson I've learned in life.(Blog Post: 10 Most Important Things I've Learned)
5. Some body language can be harmful to you and to others.
A picture paints a thousand words, right? You probably never related that to body language.
The door opens and in walk my 3 adorable grandchildren....great big smiles, each one marching pass me with their own way of saying "I'm glad to be here!" O bless me! a squeal, a high five or a hug...no words just yet.
Or...my little precious 2 year old grandson who lives many miles away. Walks in hesitantly, staring with bewilderment ....not sure just what to do. Gogo walks towards him but he turns toward mommy or daddy. Yea it breaks my little heart but I also know we don't see each other much so we have to go slow and warm up to each other.
That is the unspoken language of love, faith, and hope. No words needed.
Do you know what shame, guilt, disapproval and rejection look like when communicated with your body? Words are bad enough and can leave scars that are not easily forgotten, but body language can be just as harmful. Sticks and stones can hurt your body and so can your body hurt others.
A very well known cliche is "its better just to say nothing if you can't say something nice". Well maybe...that can be true... but I think either way can be hurtful if we aren't motivated by love. What we don't say acts itself out in our movements and facial expressions.
Some of us feel that we are masters at deciding what some one is thinking and that can also cause misunderstandings created by our body language. Only you know what is the motive behind your movement. But body language can be a tale tale sign that you or someone does not approve of what was said or done or even the way someone looks.
My mom, like many moms, was pretty good at projecting her disapproving "you should feel guilty" look on me. She would scowl when she saw me doing something she did not like. I can still see that face. I can feel the shame of not meeting the expectation of the one person I really wanted to approve of me. So guess what I thought.. you should scowl when someone does something wrong.
Scowling across life at my own children and husband and probably friends I produced the same expression passed down to me thinking it would get results...change your ways, get with the program, you're embarrassing me. NOT! No! it does not produce the kind of results you might be looking for. Change your ways, get with the program or you're embarrassing me expressions need guidance, suggestions and direction. Words please... Da! Why do we think we can change anyone by our judgments aka body language.
Matt 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
I have a friend who told me her daddy always said, "If you spot it, you got it" Its not Jesus's words but its saying basically the same thing as Matt 7:2.
If you are judging someone for something they have said, done or even the way they look its more than likely the same way you judge yourself about what you do, say or the way you look. That's why you recognize it and that's why you despise it and that's why you use your body to communicate it. You don't like it about yourself and you don't like it in other people.
My challenge for you is to try this out next time you are deciding to punish someone with your judgments. Double check and ask yourself if you do the same thing. More than likely you do and if you are convinced that you don't then ask someone close to you if they think you do. Try it. You probably won't like it. BUT! You may find your relationships will grow if you learn to talk it out instead of acting it out.
All and all I just know I have hurt people with my scowling look, my ignoring ways, my quick jerks to the side or folded arms.
I'm truly sorry...lesson learned.
Can you guess what these 4 are thinking. :)