We are bombarded with subliminal messages every day. Advertising companies use them to persuade us to buy their products through clever use of colors, words, images, sounds, and product placement. Any communication that skips our conscious thought, but enters our subconscious mind, is known as a subliminal message. As the conscious mind doesn’t have time to rationalize or analyze these messages, it is said that people might more easily accept them.
Aside from the use of subliminal messages in advertising, we submit subliminal messages every day. We send out vibes to others and in turn pick up on messages being transmitted to us. These messages are not what we say or even how we say things – in fact we submit messages when we are not saying anything at all – they are a subconscious projection of our internal feelings.
I recently read a book that made me think about the vibes and messages we are sending out. It is called The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton. In the book Stockton explains how her domesticated coyote, Charlie, picks up on her feelings. He senses her emotions towards him (love and later fear) but also on her general well-being and state-of-mind. When Stockton becomes stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, Charlie senses this and realizes she is not the calm, assertive, capable leader, and so he becomes leader (and shows aggression and dominance towards her). But when she gets herself emotionally back on track, their relationship changes for the better.
I thought about the subliminal messages I am giving off and how it makes those around me feel. I am acutely aware of how animals can sense our emotions. I have a fear towards dogs (gained from an incident in my childhood). Dogs know this about me, and sometimes however much bravado I put up, they can tell that inside I have some level of anxiety and fear. This often causes them to bark at me, which then increases my fear. But I wondered if it is more than that? Is it just my fear towards dogs that they sense, or like Stockton, do I lack calmness and assertiveness at times, and this is what they are picking up on? Do I need to make changes within to re-adjust my signal?
If animals can sense our emotions (and re-act towards us accordingly), do humans too? I think children are more apt to. I recall my first day teaching, a class full of 10 year olds watching my every move. They could sense my newness and nervousness, and acted (up!) accordingly. There are also times when children have been drawn to me. When I first met my niece (through marriage) she stuck to my side. Did she know I instantly loved her and wanted to be around her? And when I recently bumped into a student I had taught, who now had a child of her own, her son immediately came to me and flung his arms around me in an embrace. Could he sense my tenderness towards him? (The parents acted like he didn’t do that with everyone, so maybe so.)
I wonder, does our ability to sense emotions diminish with age? Are we too busy judging people on appearances rather than the feelings we get from them? Or maybe our ability to read emotions is still strong, and we just do not react towards others’ emotions so obviously, in the way children and animals do? We are more cautious and guarded in our responses. I have been around people, both on a personal level and in business, who I get a strong sense of genuineness from, of integrity, caring, and thoughtfulness. And also those who are selfish or have ulterior motives. You can try and mask your intent by what and how you say things, but subliminal messages make those around you feel a certain way. What messages are you sending out and how do they make those around you feel?