For some, reading people accurately is a gift they already possess. For others, it is something that needs a little calibration.
Reading other people’s energy requires connection with your own emotional self as well as Emotional Intelligence and trusting your emotions.
Emotional intelligence is something which we grew up learning to strengthen, or to stunt. If you were told not to cry as a child, or taught to negate your own emotions with responses like “I’m fine,” you are prone to be less receptive to others’ emotional state than someone who grew up discussing their feelings.
David Caruso, PhD, a well-known psychologist, Assistant to the Dean at Yale University, and co-author of the Mayer, Salovey, Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, says being taught to hide the very thing which makes us human can have disastrous effects later-on in our adult life.
A recent study published in Computers in Human Behavior explains what happens when we remove screen-based media and communication devices from our lives and replace them with physical, and personal connections instead:
“While digital media provides many useful ways to communicate and learn, our study suggests that skills in reading human emotion may be diminished when face-to-face interaction is displaced by technologically mediated communication. We found that those who were away from screens, with many opportunities for in-person interaction, improved significantly in reading facial emotion cues.”
There are several determinants regarding our emotional intelligence baseline, and how well we can read someone, but how do we improve those qualities and make our personal encounters more informative and successful?
4 Steps To Read Other People’s Energy
1. Be as objective as possible.
Try to approach each individual interaction as objectively as possible. Oftentimes, we carry our own personal views and biases into our perceptions of others, and that can cloud our judgment.
Let’s say you had an unpleasant experience with an IT support representative, you might, unfairly, assume the next one will be just as unhelpful. Or, if you recently met someone who shares the name of someone you dislike, you might treat them slightly differently.
Body language consultant and founder of Truth Blazer, Blanca Cobb, says, “Your own emotions and your previous experiences with another person can color your impressions, and that may lead you to misread the situation.”
Instead of taking note of someone’s attire, or assuming their slovenly appearance has anything to do with the benevolence or maliciousness of their intent, become a blank slate and pay attention to the behaviors and words of the other person.
2. Put priority in the body language they communicate.
If you are in a bad mood, you’re probably not as good at hiding it as you think.
Our body language always gives us away, if you know what to look for.
There are positive and negative emotions we display through body language. Crossing our arms, the direction we point our feet when talking to someone, eye-contact, smiling, and various other displays of body language can tell someone a lot about how or what you are feeling.
Look at the body language and trust what it says. Most of what the body communicates is not controlled or being filtered and edited by the person you interact with.
3. Let the energy flow.
After we develop an idea about someone, we tend to always view them through that specific lens. Energy is always in motion and so are the labels you put on others. So just feel them. Don’t try to understand them, feel them. Let the energy they emit tell you what they are really trying to speak.
Don’t define them with the current feel but try to keep an open mind. Try to see the bigger picture of them and look at their energy from a higher perspective.
For example, if we label someone as “manipulative,” we will notice the behaviors that correspond with that label, and we’ll be less likely to notice the behaviors which don’t. So don’t try to put a label on the energy that you are reading.
It’s true that our first impressions are usually correct about a person, but they are never foolproof. Remember to re-evaluate your initial assumptions based on continued interaction, and alter them accordingly.
4. Trust what you feel.
When you interact with others and read the energy they emit it is very likely that you won’t trust it.
We are used to find logical and reasonable proofs for other people’s behavior and that’s how we construct the image we have about them. However, we don’t really know the real situation, we only know what others want to let us know.
But energy never lies, so trust what someone makes you feel without looking for a proof.
If you sense that someone, for example, is really sad but they don’t tell or show any particular sadness in what they say, trust your feeling. Be kind, you can even hug them. That might be the most important thing they need that day and they are too ashamed to show.
Improving your emotional intelligence is beneficial to your health.
Having a clearer understanding of our fellow human beings allows for deeper, more honest relationships.
Numerous studies have been taken place on the relationship between emotional intelligence and overall well-being, with fascinating results.
One such study by Dr. Reuven Bar, says, “The results generated by the studies reviewed indicate that emotional intelligence has a significant impact on health as well as on the ability to cope with and possibly survive life-threatening medical conditions.”
A recent meta-analysis by Schutte, Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Bhullar, and Rooke, indicated that emotional intelligence is associated with having better health.
A better understanding of ourselves allows for a better understanding of others; and that understanding can benefit our minds and bodies.
Reading other people’s energy is not the best part.
By becoming better at this, you will be able to better read your own emotions and be healthier. And the better you are at reading your own emotions, you will be better at reading other people.
Featured image: “Hands of Light” by Barbara Brennan