Love this classic line from the TV series, “The Paradise.”
“Your words form a statement but your face wears a question.”
Fantastic, isn’t it? Such a poignant reminder that our gestures speak louder than our words. Our body language gives us away.
During a recent shift at smallMart, a young couple came into the store and I could tell that their relationship was quite new — still at the “trying to impress” stage. It was really humorous to watch the guy respond when the girl started picking up little items and putting them in her basket. The guy’s words were communicating that it was “OK to buy all this stuff” but his face was clearly giving away his resistance to having to pay for it all. Every time he saw another item thrown into the basket, his face tightened up. When they got to the front counter, it was painful to watch this poor guy have to pay $36.87 for a bunch of stuff that he clearly didn’t feel that the girl needed. I’m not sure where that relationship is going to go . . . but his words clearly formed a statement contrary to his body language!
Healthy relationships require trust and truth.
Stephen R. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, shares great insight when he writes, “You’ve spent years learning how to read and write, years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training or education have you had that enables you to listen so that you really, deeply understand another human being from that individual’s own frame of reference?”
I think that when we listen to others, it’s equally important to watch whether the words match the body language and facial expressions. If they don’t match, it’s wise to back up a bit and ask some questions. This is respect. This is love — caring about the other person’s words AND reactions. It takes more time to do so, but you’ll be building a strong foundation for a vibrant and lasting relationship.
Characterize people by their actions and you will not be fooled by their words.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loud that I can’t hear what you say.”
Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 29.20 NIV