Our non-verbal communication with others is responsible for over 65% of our behavior. Dr. Jim explains the difference between low self-worth and self-centeredness and how we can identify and avoid these kinds of behaviours when dealing with others – and especially with a prospect match. And how to improve our non-verbal communication.
Non-verbal communication – Do you have a love statement? – Part II
Do you have a love statement? – Part I illustrated how both the verbal and non-verbal communication combine to present a ‘statement’ to others. In relationships, or potential relationships, these ingredients become what I call our ‘love statement’. It is the total projection that we present to others.
I would like to focus my comments on the 65% of our communication that is non-verbal. Two primary areas come to mind that greatly influence the ‘statement’ we make to others:
- People skills
The definition of behavior
The definition of behavior is ‘the actions or reactions of a person in response to external or internal stimuli.’ As relates to relationships, it is the way we act toward and around others. I wish that we could have a video camera capture us as we interact with others. This feedback could be a great eye-opener for many.
Behavior is the surface action of inner attitudes. It is these attitudes that fuel our behavior.
How about our past experiences?
Past experiences greatly influence how we see ourselves. This creates a self-worth and the condition of this self-image greatly influences our behavior.
Low self-worth individuals
- An individual with low self-worth may lack confidence. Their action may manifest itself by becoming reserved and not joining into conversations or activities with others. A person with this behavior hangs around the outer edge and has difficulty making eye contact with others.
- Other individuals with low self-worth take the opposite approach and try to be the life of the party. They are overly active, always talking and injecting their thoughts and ideas. They ‘need’ attention and will go to great effort to receive it.
- The visual statement that either of these low self-esteem behaviors is making is very obvious to most people meeting them. Others recognize a ‘work in progress’ and decide to not initiate getting to know these individuals on a deeper level.
“Past experiences greatly influence how we see ourselves.”
- Another type of behavior that comes from a poor attitude is the one of self-centeredness. These individuals are always looking out for what they want to do, when they want to do it, and with whom they want to do it with. They are usually trying to fill a void left by previous experiences where they did not receive what they feel they were ‘entitled’ to receive.
- We are by our fallen natures bent to being selfish.
I have been told by many previously married women that they did not have the pleasures and sex that they should have enjoyed in marriage and they are out to get it now. They are making sure that their needs are top priority in any future relationship.
- Another type of behavior of these individuals is that they become ‘control freaks’. They dominate the activities of others and will let you know quickly what they want to do and that is all that they care about doing.
- These individuals usually end up burning through relationship after relationship. They are unable to make a commitment because it would be giving up the lordship of their lives.
Do any of the above sound familiar? Do you wonder if you are presenting one of these types of behavior ‘statements’ to others? Before I proceed in Part 3 to discuss people skills, allow me to share some thoughts about finding out if you have any unhealthy behaviors (those noted above or others) and some suggested ways to go about finding solutions.
For other non-verbal communication blog post, please see: What does your face say about you?
“These individuals usually end up burning through relationship after relationship.”
Before you begin to address areas for growth, you need to have a firm foundation on which to build.
- Each of us gets off the mark if we do not have a way to keep our bearings. There are many false bearings that are readily available, but there is only one bearing that is ‘true.’ It is in God that we find our true bearing and our self-worth. It is in His Word (the Bible) that we find a description to the best behavior. Romans 3:23 says ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’
- If you are faced with a low self-worth, I invite you to think about how much you are worth to God? When we can come to the point of understanding just how far short each of us really is to where we need to be, and that in spite of our shortcomings – God loves us just as we are – then we can capture a true image of who we really are. 1Cor 6:19-20 states ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.’
- If your challenge is self-centeredness, I invite you to read Romans 12:3 ‘For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.’
How do you find out if you are making a statement to others that you have low self-worth or self-centeredness?
- The first place to begin is with the God’s Spirit. Take some time to be alone and ask God to speak to you and reveal to you if there is any area that you need to be addressing as you grow. We are very blessed to have God’s presence with us to be our guide. Read Chapters 14, 15 and 16 of the Gospel of John to see why the Holy Spirit came and what He can do for your life.
- Start a diary or some form of recording the interactions that you have with others. This recording should include the time and place, what the objective of the meeting was, how you felt as you interacted, and how well you felt that the interaction went. Be sure to write down the response that you ‘felt’ from the other person. Set aside some time a couple times a week to review these notes. Think about what took place and perhaps what you could have done or said that would have been a better projection.
- Ask some close friends to set aside some time to help each other to grow. Begin your session with prayer and then develop a trust so that you can share ways that each of you may help the other to grow in your statement. Be careful not to get off the mark and become too critical of each other. Find ways to affirm one another as you share and grow.
- Seek the input of older Christians or a Pastor. Tell them that you would like to learn areas where you can grow and want to invite their input.
- If you suspect that you have areas in your statement that you cannot discern yourself or through friends, then seek the services of a Christian counsellor.
In part III will be addressing an essential area for your positive ‘love statement.’ It is developing and using good people skills.
“Find ways to affirm one another as you share and grow.”
Author of “Guide to Successful Online Christian Dating”
Philippians 1:6 ‘being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’