I See Dead People
I’m a people-watcher. I’d be perfectly content to spend an afternoon at the mall sitting on a bench just watching people go by. Studying their facial expressions as they talk, seeing what they do behind each other’s back, eavesdropping on their conversations. People are fascinating.
In fact, I’ve become so adept at watching people I pick up things others miss. A dip in the corner of the mouth. A momentary shift in the eyes. Wringing hands. Shuffling feet. An awkward smile. It all speaks volumes. Words are cheap and, let’s face it, lying is easy, but body language tells the real story.
When I was younger I stuttered pretty bad (I still do stutter but nearly as severe). I spoke seldomly unless I had to. In most group settings I was the silent observer, taking in all I could and formulating my own thoughts that were never expressed. This was the beginning of my people-watching.
And I learned something:
Know how to interpret someone’s non-verbal language and you get a peek directly into his or her soul. Sometimes it’s scary, most of the time saddening. People are hurting, they’re hiding, they wear masks and paste on phony smiles. They say everything’s “fine” when it’s far from it. They are longing for exceptance somewhere, anywhere, to fit in and be loved. They’re dead on the inside, hopeless, lost, and scared.
Try it sometime. Go to a crowded place, find a comfortable seat, and watch and listen. You may just learn something. About others. About yourself.