Much of our body language is unconscious and originates in the oldest part of our brain area called the limbic system. This limbic system is primarily responsible for our basic functions like our emotional reactions, regulating hunger and thirst.
For example, healthy young men unconsciously make millions of sperm every day, no matter what they are doing consciously. Also, young women go through their complex physiologic changes necessary to make babies without any conscious control. These limbic system functions are ongoing out of our conscious control in our "old" brain area whether we like it or not!
It is important to understand that we operate from both the old and new brain areas at the same time. For example, a young man may be using his new brain for selecting the correct fork to eat his salad at a dinner table. However, at the same time his old brain is primarily interested in surviving and getting intimate with some woman.
As he eats his salad and talks politely with others, his old brain is constantly on the lookout for any woman who might be open to doing a "quickie" so he can spread his genes to more offspring. It is his new brain with its powerful ability to control his behavior that keeps him operating somewhat normal and not openly approaching the women - at least not right now.
However, his true interests and needs will show up unconsciously in his body language! When he sits, he will sit in the open leg position displaying his "goodies". His arms will be wide open and in the direction of the nearest women much of the time. He will watch them every move with great pleasure, looking for a positive body language reply to his own body language. And this is all done unconsciously!
The fascinating and wonderful part of this scene is that some women's body language may be unconsciously responding to his body language with affirmative responses to his every move! In the mean time, the discussion may drone on about what a wonderful meal it was!
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[For a body language analysis of the couple eating above, Click here.]
The point here is that there are conflicting messages we must deal with in this flirting, dating and mating process. It helps to understand that at all times everyone's body language is accurately and honestly reflecting how they are feeling from moment to moment!
If you learn to observe and understand body language, you will better understand how others are feeling about you. Hopefully, you will greatly improve all your relationships. The goal is to respond consciously with your own most appropriate body language that will facilitate your relationships. Also, you may want to curb your own inappropriate body language and, therefore, present a much better image. Even if others are not consciously aware of reading body language, their unconscious old brain will still understand your nonverbal cues that you send them!
If you really want to understand people in your daily relationships, study their ongoing body language.
© Copyright 2005, revised 2009, 2015 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding.
All rights reserved worldwide.