If the Shoe Fits

 

Over the past 15 years, my weight has fluctuated a ton. Okay, not a literal ton. But due to stress eating, crash dieting (avoiding both of those nowadays), and a couple of pregnancies, my wardrobe at one time included items that ranged from size 4 to size 16. Only a few pieces fit me well.

I’ve discovered that nothing feels as comfortable or looks as good as clothes that fit.

The right color, the right style, the latest fashion or trend? Doesn’t matter. It won’t feel good or look right if it’s not the right fit.

Like clothing, we “put on” nonverbals to meet the needs of the situation. Just as you wear suitable business attire to an important meeting or court appointment, you also coordinate your nonverbals to harmonize with your circumstances and message. But not only must your nonverbals fit the conditions, they must also fit you.

Here’s the problem: We don’t always know what fits us.

As I type this blog, I keep glancing down at my size 9 sandals. I’ve worn size 9 shoes since high school. Yet I recently discovered I’m actually an 8 ½. (Don’t ask me why it took me so long to figure this out. I think I just didn’t pay much attention to what was on my feet until a friend forced me to buy a pair of amazing bright red stilettos.) Now that I know what fits my foot the best, I am uncomfortable in all my size 9 shoes. Not only are they too loose, I feel like I’m wearing clown shoes.

Obviously, I need to go shopping and replace all those shoes… But first, let me finish this blog.

One reason we don’t know what fits us is that we change. We grow, we shift, we learn. Sometimes we aren’t aware of how much we have changed and therefore aren’t aware of what fits the “new” us. For example, after my husband lost 35 pounds, we went shopping to buy him new clothes and he kept trying on items that were way too big! He had not yet adjusted, in his mind, to his new size.

As you grow, mature, experience new things, and take on different roles and responsibilities, your nonverbal repertoire can also expand. Yet many people don’t realize their range. With awareness, training, and coaching in nonverbal communication skills, you can become aware of your natural patterns, discover new ways of communicating, and “try them on” to see what fits.

On the one hand, you cannot communicate effectively by “putting on” nonverbals that don’t fit you personally. On the other hand, your personal nonverbal “wardrobe” probably includes a wider variety of voice patterns, postures, gestures, and facial expressions than you are aware of. The way you communicate must be “fitting” for the situation AND it must fit you personally. Yet you won’t find all the wonderful ways of communicating that do suit you if you aren’t willing to step out of your comfort zone from time to time.

It is possible to change and adapt while staying true to the “real” you.

I’ve gotten rid of all my clothes that don’t fit. And now, I am now off to the shoe store to find size 8 ½ shoes that fit, but that also will push my limits and make my wardrobe just a little more fabulous. What limits are you ready to push?

 

Change your communication, change your life.

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