Looking within yourself is an essential part of self awareness, but without the ability to see yourself as others do, you won’t be able to manage what you communicate about yourself to others. The ability to connect what’s going on inside of you to how you appear on the outside is essential for communicating the right things about yourself, rather than leaving it up to the interpretation of others. The following steps will allow you to see yourself as others do.
Focus your attention on you
Too often, we get caught up in whatever is happening around us. It can feel as if we are always walking through a tornado. In order to manage this situation you need to bring your attention back to you. If you are not aware of what you are feeling/thinking, the situation manages you, you aren’t managing the situation.
The best way to bring your attention back to you is to focus on your breath. After following a few breaths, ask yourself “what do I feel?” Notice all the emotions and/or sensations you feel in your body (I feel tension in my shoulders. I feel frustrated. I need to stretch.). This step doesn’t have to last long, just 30 – 60 seconds. Just enough time to pay attention to yourself. If you want to know how others see you, you have to know what you are feeling first.
Be aware of your feelings and sensations
Once you have your attention on yourself, be aware of how your feelings and sensations affect what you are communicating outwardly. What do you look like when you get tired and your energy drops? What do you look like when you are concentrating? What you are feeling on the inside is not always what’s showing on the outside. Making adjustments to your outward appearance is based on knowing what you feel and comparing that with what you want to communicate.
For instance, if you get tired, your body language may suggest that you are bored, when that’s not the case. Knowing what you look like when you get tired can help you make adjustments so that people don’t think you find them boring.
How do I appear?
Once you are aware of what you feel and how those feelings are expressed in your outward appearance, you can begin to adjust them to fit what you want to communicate. Take notice of these things:
- Facial Expression – Am I smiling? Are my eyes “bright”? Or, does my expression look flat or even angry?
- Body Language – Am I displaying closed or open body language? Am I fidgeting or tapping my fingers? Is my posture appropriate or am I slouched?
- Voice – Is my tone of voice even and steady? Am I speaking at the right pace? Do I sound short or agitated in my speech?
- Clothes – Is the way that I am dressed communicating what I would like it to? Does my appearance reflect how I see myself?