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See Yourself As Others Do

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?


Published inPersonal Growth

17 Comments

  1. Hi Amanda,
    This really is great! The idea of stopping for a few seconds – and breathing – that’s a good way to get the focus on “us”. The connection for me – in what you’ve written – is to then become aware of our outward appearance. I think I tend to neglect this. We do tend to see ourselves internally – yet is that really what we are portraying outwardly? It’s a great question – and one that – if we get a better handle of – has the ability to put us better in alignment with our true self…

    Lance’s last blog post..This Challenged Me – Part 2

  2. Hi Amanda

    Good points. It can be quite difficult to convey one’s true inner state in body language. I know people always get it wrong with me.
    Guess I have some work to do!

    Juliet

    LifeMadeGreat – Juliet’s last blog post..Juliet Tagged

  3. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Lance – It’s not so obvious that gathering self knowledge isn’t just about reflecting inward but can help you reflect outward also.

    Juliet – Thanks for the comment! It can be very difficult, particularly for people who tend to not be so outwardly expressive.

  4. Hi Amanda

    A word I like here is ‘alignment’. When I express myself I want to do so in such a way that my words, emotions and the deeper currents within me are conveyed. That means aligning what comes out of my mouth with all the richness that my body, face and voice provide. If I’m excited by an idea, and my deeper values of creating something are being stimulated – then I want that to come through in how I communicate.

    Thanks for the post .. and I adore the pictures you use on this site!

    Ian

    Ian Peatey’s last blog post..How hard should you smack your children?

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Ian – Thanks for the comment! The word “alignment” is great. That expresses exactly what I was thinking.

    I have found some great pictures to use on the site 🙂

  6. Thanks for a great post and a solid reminder of the importance of nonverbal communication. Happy New Year! Shann

    Shann’s last blog post..Popular True Balance Posts of 2008

  7. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Shann – Yes, nonverbal communication is essential! Thanks for the comment.

  8. Amazing how the breath and that question causes one to pause, find focus and awareness. Thank you, I love simple, yet effective touches like this. I shall return.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Parlay Your Wisdom

  9. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Tom – It seems so simple, and yet our breath is very powerful. Thanks!

  10. Hi Amanda, thanks for the reminder. They may look like simple things but they can bring a big impact to relationship.

  11. Great topic! As a reluctant INFP lobbyist who is getting ready for our upcoming legislative session, your timing is perfect for me. I spend a lot of energy thinking of how I appear but don’t often reflect on how others might see me.
    Thanks.
    Roger

    Roger’s last blog post..Multi-Tasking

  12. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Arswino – Simple is often the best route to take!

    Roger – Wow, an INFP lobbyist! Certainly, seeing yourself as others do must be really important in that role. Good luck in your upcoming session.

  13. Hello Amanda

    Like Tom, I also appreciate your straight-forward approach to building self-confidance and a happier life.

  14. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Karen – Thanks!

  15. Nix Nix

    I have always struggled to align my thoughts with my actions…But now I realize i have to follow the sequence in the correct order…

    As someone has said…”Thoughts become feelings, feelings become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character,character becomes destiny.”

    So in order to change destiny I need to intervene at the level of thoughts. And to keep a track of quality of thoughts I need to know what feelings they arise.

    Thanks for the amazing insight.

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