Do you wear body armor? I am not talking about the metal kind the knights of old used to wear – no this is the modern kind that we use either deliberately or unconsciously to keep people away.
Body armor can take the form of body posture where we don’t make eye contact and turn our body away from others. We might do this in an elevator if we don’t want to engage in conversation for instance. Our posture can change due to what thoughts we have going on in our head or we can do a posture deliberately like when we pose for a photo.
The most interesting body armor I find is the one many of us don’t even realize we are wearing and that is our scent. If you don’t wear deodorant or brush your teeth, your bad odor will cause people to back away. Now since most of us don’t like that kind of odor ourselves we usually don’t employ it deliberately because we would make ourselves sick by our own smell -ha!
Then there are the deliberate aromas such as smoking cigarettes, or cigars. Do you wear strong cologne or use hand or body cream that has a strong fragrance? When you are out of sight coming from around the corner do people know you are there because of your scent? Actors, models and many other famous people have had special scents created specifically for them and their signature scent acts as body armor.
If you smoke or wear a very strong scent this is in effect acting as body armor and subconsciously calling people to back off from you, to give you space. Smokers literally create a “smoke screen” around themselves. I find this fascinating because you would think smokers were social since they group together outside of offices to “visit and smoke” but in fact they are only doing a superficial kind of visiting. My mother was a smoker and in hindsight I can see that she used her smoking scent to give herself distance from the ten children she was raising. The activity of smoking can be a form of taking a break from the world as well. I work in a variety of offices around the city and I have noticed that smokers make sure they get their 2 fifteen minute breaks a day…and sometimes even more! While I applaud them on making sure they get a break I wonder if it is more of a hiding from their troubles activity vs. one that is self-empowering. Only they can know for sure how smoking serves them.
Our choice of clothing can also provide body armor for us. Of course we wear clothes to keep warm and be socially acceptable but I am talking about the deliberate use of costumes or uniforms to create a message that will be sent without us ever needing to say a word. Think about a nun’s habit or a police uniform. How about a doctors scrubs or a prep school uniform. This type of clothing says “I am part of a group” so don’t bother taking to me unless you have business with my group. In this photo I am wearing my cooking apron and my family knows that when I put this on they had better stop talking to me or dinner might be ruined or late-lol The apron serves to protect my clothes sure but it also signifies that I am not in visiting mode for a little while.
Take this week and notice what you normally take for granted by checking what you are wearing and ask yourself if there is a purpose to your style of clothes, one that gives you more power for your day ahead. Notice how you smell, do you wear a fragrance like perfume or does your laundry soap have a powerful aroma? Simply by noticing and realizing what message you are sending adds a punch to your purpose and energizes your choice of body armor. If your armor isn’t a healthy one then see if you can find a new tactic that won’t hurt you in the long run.
It’s important to notice because a message is being sent to others as you go through your day and you want to be sure it’s the message you are meaning to send…one that empowers you!
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach