How successful are you at hiding your feelings? Remember Tom Hank’s reaction to Ricky Gervais’ jokes during the Golden Globe opening monologue. He was disgusted by a joke about sensitive Hollywood topics. He couldn’t hide it. And sooner rather than later, his reaction became viral and became a funny meme and gif.
Can We Hide How We Feel?
Imagine that someone like Tom Hanks whose profession relies on using his body and face could not hide his true emotions. If Tom Hanks can’t do it, do we even have a chance at faking our feelings? It is possible that his reaction was intentional and that he wanted the world to know how he feels.
We all have shown our emotions in a way that we regretted later. Maybe you were in the audience showing a negative reaction to someone talking. Maybe in a class or a meeting? Did your visible negative reaction get you in trouble with your teacher or boss?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you can’t hide your feelings? Maybe you laughed or showed anger or anxiety. You just couldn’t help yourself.
Nonverbal communication is strong and harder to hide than verbal communication. You might not react with words but often we are not aware of our face and body. Also, other people’s nonverbal communication is sending us a message if we are doing something wrong or right. Knowing how other people feel has an impact on how we communicate with them? Your words don’t have to be in line with how you feel. However, your body and your face are more likely to be in line with how you feel. When you are reacting emotionally you are giving cues about whether your reaction is unpleasant or pleasant.
We all have a few people in our lives who can’t hide their facial expressions at all. They even seem rude. If they don’t agree with you, they might show disgust or surprise. There should be some level of emotional intelligence helping us control our emotions. Here, the main issues are emotions not nonverbal reactions. Once the negative emotions are altered, the negative cues coming from our body and face will disappear.
Let’s not forget that people are more sensitive to negative emotions than positive ones. We might show approval with our body and face reactions but that won’t be read as approval as long as we don’t say it. While negative emotions are very well-read without saying a word. It’s safe to conclude that we are less likely to hide our negative emotions than positive ones. This is part of our evolution. For our ancestors, it was more important to recognize a threat than approval.
Can You Control the Impressions You Make on Others?
In conclusion, can we control the impression people have about us? In some way, we as human beings need to have the emotional intelligence of being pleasant even when we don’t agree. We should pay attention not only to our faces but our bodies as well. Our body sends cues about our inner world and how we feel. When we are communicating with others, all our verbal and nonverbal channels are available for others to read. The important thing is the tone of our voice.
Communicating our emotions is an art. Actors do it for a living. If you don’t want for your body and face to reveal how you feel, you should pay attention to how you are communicating with others. It’s ok to hide emotions. Sometimes we are aggravated or grumpy and we might react in the wrong way towards others who didn’t deserve it at all. Here is where our emotional intelligence jumps in.