Emotions,and the ways in which we show them, are complex. Recent research has found that while almost all human beings, there recognize the facial expressions of the six basic emotions – fear, anger, happiness, disgust, surprise, sadness – are recognized instantly by almost all human beings, there are more than thirty further facial expressions that we might use. We also display our emotions in our posture the way we sit, or the positions of our arms, legs and head. Sometimes the message signaled by our posture or expression can be at odds with that
suggested by our tone of voice or the actual words we are saying. This is because we often try to regulate or hide our real emotions. Is it any wonder, then, that reading each other’s feelings correctly can seem such a complicated undertaking?
Sometimes you may find that your partner reacts to you in a way you find perplexing. What might seem to you a calm discussion can slide swiftly into tension. It may be that some aspect of your body language of which you are unaware has started this opposition. A frown, however
fleeting, might be perceived as a expression of hostility or reluctance; a shrug of the shoulders might be taken to mean that you don’t care. By understanding better how other people are
likely to interpret your facial expressions and bodily postures, you have a better chance of avoiding misunderstandings in the future.
Avoid the trap of trying to limit your body language because you feel it gives away too many of your secrets – this is merely a recipe for becoming less expressive. Use your hands freely, as people often do – the hands are eloquent, with a language of their own. Try also to encourage the mobility of your face. Usually, these approaches have more to do with loosening a habitual rigidity than with acquiring an entirely new means of communication. Body language already lies latent within you – it is a matter not of putting on an unfamiliar act but of shedding
unnecessary inhibitions. You will find, as you use your hands and face more in support of spoken language, that you are more accurately expressing and more deeply feeling whatever it is you have to convey.