Norton: The outer you reflects the inner you
Have you ever been around someone in a group setting and suddenly they say something completely out of character or unexpected? And when they realize it, they say or ask something like, “Did my inside voice just come out?” Maybe we have all experienced a moment like that, and probably even have been the one to let our inside voice come out unexpectedly.
Some of us do a really good job of controlling our words, feelings and actions when it comes to our ability to stay composed, especially when we may not necessarily agree with those around us. We have the ability to keep our outer selves restrained from saying what might really be on our heart and mind.
And then there some of us who completely wear our hearts on our sleeve. We do not have a poker face, so we make our feelings known through what we do and what comes out of our mouth. Some might even say that those of us who fall into this category don’t have a filter — when the thought pops into our minds we immediately say or act upon what we feel in that moment.
Both types, those who stay calm and can control what they say and feel, as well as those who wear their hearts on their sleeve, are easy enough to understand and recognize. Those who demonstrate restraint are usually very thoughtful and really consider their words wisely before just speaking. And those who don’t hide the way they feel are more direct and to the point, and live life to its fullest with lots of emotion.
Then there are those of us who think we are showing restraint and composure trying to hide our feelings, but our tonality, our expressions, and our body language give us away. Those of us in this group should never play poker. And there are a lot of us who fall into this category, we just don’t see ourselves this way, we think we are fooling others, when they can see clearly right through us.
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“We cannot consistently act in a way that is inconsistent with the way we see ourselves,” writes Dr. Joyce Brothers.
A lot of how we see ourselves has to do with what we keep on the inside, and what has the potential to come out of us in moments of distress, or conflicts of any kind, and usually at the wrong time. If we are harboring feelings that are negative or angry, our outside self will reflect those emotions. We may be able to mask it for a little while, but sooner or later we will hold our tongue for so long, but then eventually our true inner feelings will be exposed.
We all fall somewhere along the spectrum of the three examples mentioned above. And in the world we are living in today, we need to feed our minds and our hearts with the words of hope and encouragement, loving kindness, abundance, gentleness, benevolence, generosity and goodness. When we feed our minds and hearts with a steady diet of the positive, our inner self will never betray our outside self.
Should we say or do what we feel and believe? Yes. Should we make sure it is said or done with respect? Absolutely. For some of us, we know exactly where we are when it comes to displaying how we really feel. And for others, we only fool ourselves. The solution is that we say and do exactly what needs to be said or done, and to say it or do it with respect, kindness and compassion.
How about you? Are you staying composed? Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Or do you have the blind spot of maybe projecting what you are feeling on the inside without knowing it? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can include a steady diet of the good, the pure, the powerful and the positive, our inside self and outside self will more than likely be in alignment, making this a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful president of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.