How’re You Doin’?
Article Word Count 932, average reading time 3.7 minutes
“Fine”, is what you’d probably answer, if someone asked you this question.
Actually, “fine” is what we say to be polite, no matter HOW we are feeling! We’re all taught that. Think about the last hundred times you said or heard, “How are you”? Wasn’t the answer usually, “Fine”?
That’s why it’s so important to develop a real sensitivity to all the other signals we get from each other about what’s going on inside us.
If you pay close attention, you will notice how often many of us are at odds. We say one thing with our words and signal another thing entirely with our bodies and our tone of voice.
If you find that you notice these mismatches, what do you do about them?
It could be that you’ve said something that is not fully agreed with, but your companion doesn’t want a confrontation. Or maybe be something else is going on.
It might not have anything to do with you, or with the present situation. The reason for the incongruence will be different from person to person and situation to situation.
Not real helpful so far, huh? That’s because you need more clues. So here are a few.
You’ve probably heard it said, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”
I don’t know how far back that goes, but there’s a lot of truth to the saying. It could be from people observing “shifty eyes”, or rapid blinking, or people who can’t meet your eyes when they’re lying.
“Shifty eyes”, rapid blinking or inability to meet your gaze. Reason – to meet someone’s gaze is an invitation to intimacy and confidence, depending on how long that gaze is held.
Each culture has a code for what is polite – and believe me – you were well trained in those rules before you could drive a car.
People who are trying to hide something may be experiencing internal conflict and not want to meet your eyes. A cop I used to work with once told me that “a good liar will look you in the eye and tell you the sky is green if he wants to. But most people aren’t very good liars.”
Here’s more information about eyes – this time from NLP.
It turns out that the eyes are more than “windows to the soul”. They are actually indicators of what types of information are being processed in the brain at that moment.
If you know what to look for, you can read eyes as if they were instruments wired to the other person’s brain, telling you something about what’s going on in there.
The only way our brains can “think” is in the language of the five sensory inputs, and that means that your inner world is created in the languages of your five senses.
Your brain uses pictures, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings. And when you think, you are using different blends of these elements.
Humans all have the same wiring. We all have the same organs and glands, pumping chemicals and neurotransmitters into our bloodstream, the same evolutionary reactions to being scared or angry, anxious or passionate or amused.
What we think affects our bodies, and what our bodies are doing affects our minds. Mind to body, body to mind. All parts of the same system, and each having an impact on the other.
People’s eyes respond to what’s going on in their brains when they’re processing information inside themselves.
Here’s what I mean — people use their eyes to look at things outside themselves, right? Obviously. Okay, when they’re doing that, their eyes aren’t going to signal you about their inner state.
But, when they are not looking at something OUTSIDE themselves, they’re looking at something INSIDE themselves.
For instance, take pictures. When people are seeing pictures inside their heads they usually look up. Or sometimes they may just look straight ahead, eyes unfocused.
That’s common in people who have seen some powerful images, like combat veterans. It’s called the “Thousand Yard Stare”, as if the person is looking at something a thousand yards away.
But there’s more that you can learn if you want to. If you’re facing a person and they look up and to your RIGHT, they are probably REMEMBERING something (tip: Right = Remembered). If they look up and to your left, they are probably imagining something.
So if you ask someone a question about something visual, notice where his or her eyes go. It may just be a flicker, but they will go to these locations.
If your companion is hearing something inside, he or she will move their eyes horizontally, at the level of the ears, and the eyes will move to your RIGHT for remembered, and to your LEFT for imagined.
Eye movements are only one of dozens of ways that we signal what’s going on inside our heads. And we’re not using all of these signals all of the time. It depends on what we’re thinking.
Still, these unconscious little clues can allow us to become more understanding of one another instead of imagining that each person we talk to is a model of poise and self-control.
For this next few days just notice where people’s eyes go, up, or side to side horizontally, or in a “thousand yard stare”?
Match it with what you are talking about so you can learn when they’re making pictures in their brains, and when they’re hearing sounds.
And remember, you’re doing it too!