A Nevispages Weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr.
The way I see it, certain things that we may consider to be SIMPLE MATTERS and NORMAL BEHAVIOUR, may not be perceived in that way, in the eyes of others with whom we associate.
For the past several weeks, I have been assigned to a distinguished group of persons, to perform some really critical tasks, as we go through the current pandemic. Every day that we associate, we are getting to know and understand each other, much better.
As a matter of fact, we are bonding like FAMILY.
Of course, within any family structure, there are good days and there are bad days. Days when we can laugh heartily with or at each other and then there are sad days. Days of misunderstandings and necessary apologies.
In recent times, I have been made aware that I have a habit of POINTING.
So, if I am referring to a house across the street, I will talk about the house and POINT to the house, so that my hearers can be made aware of the exact house to which I was referring.
In recent times, one of my associates has made it a point of duty to yell at me: ‘STOP POINTING!’
Of course, if you get to know me well enough dear reader, you will discover that you don’t just tell me to stop doing something that I do not see as wrong, without a proper explanation. Make it worse, if you are going to shout at me.
Well I newa!
During the last altercation, I bluntly stated: ‘Stop stressing yourself, because this is just me!’
So, I have persisted subconsciously and admittedly, sometimes DELIBERATELY, to POINT out THINGS and PEOPLE, to whom I am referring.
However, I have come to realize that the gesture is obviously getting the guy angry, so I decided to do some research. I, of course, checked in on my good friend Mr. GOOGLE.
First of all, I discovered that POINTING ‘is a communicative gesture that enables one to attract the attention of a conspecific on a particular object.’
I further discovered that some persons were brought up in homes, where culturally, it was taught that POINTING is RUDE. Obviously, my friend was brought up in such a home.
‘In many cultures, including ours, pointing at other people is considered rude because it’s associated with blame allocation (‘to point the finger at…’). Also, by pointing at someone, you automatically, and without their consent, make them an object of scrutiny.
Pointing is a pretty common gesture, whether you’re trying to emphasize your statement or gesturing to something on a document. But the fact is, it can come across as aggressive and rude, making the other person feel as though they’re being lectured.’
I also came across 8 body language mistakes that can make you seem like a real jerk:
Crossing your arms – This can be interpreted as a signal that you’re closed off and not willing to listen to what others around you have to say.
Keeping your chin up – Holding your head high can give the impression of confidence, but it can also make you appear condescending. This can also be true if a man remains standing while talking to someone who is seated.
Poor posture – Sitting with slumped shoulders and your head down conveys vulnerability and weakness and can make people lose confidence in you. “
Steepling your fingers (The classic gesture is fingers together and palms apart) – There was a time when this gesture was advocated by body-language experts as making you look authoritative and wise. However, these days, it’s become so commonplace that now, people attempting it look as though they’re trying too hard.
Shaking hands the wrong way – If you shake hands, don’t put your hand on top of the other person’s. “That’s a big no-no,” says Henderson, “because that’s a power play that shows, ‘I think I’m superior to you
Checking your phone – There was a time when this might go without saying, but these days, the compulsion to grab for that device in our pocket sometimes becomes too hard to ignore. But in social or professional situations when your attention is expected, this behaviour makes you seem rude, uninterested and harms relationships
Talking too close – This is an oldie, heavily referenced on Seinfeld, but it remains a key thing to avoid when interacting with other people.”
And guess what also made the list?
“Pointing your finger – Pointing is a pretty common gesture, whether you’re trying to emphasize your statement or gesturing to something on a document. But the fact is, it can come across as aggressive and rude, making the other person feel as though they’re being lectured. And because it’s an unconscious movement, it’s something you should have someone make you aware of. “Then you can sort of backtrack and say, ‘OK, it’s when I’m talking about this or when I reach a certain excitement level. Because you’re proving your point, you usually add weight to the gesture as well, so it comes across as even more aggressive.”
My research also led me to the aspect of POINTING FINGERS. Well, one thing I have learnt, is that when you point your finger at someone in blaming them, at least three other fingers are pointing back at you!
‘This act of criticizing and belittling others and pointing fingers at others needs to stop. Why? Because nobody is perfect and neither are you and by blaming others, belittling them and pointing fingers at their code of life, you’re doing nothing but making things difficult for them and even for yourself in return.
Often, when we point fingers at someone or criticize someone for doing something wrong, we are actually shifting our focus from ourselves to them. Deep down, we are either unhappy with our own self or know we’re doing something wrong but don’t want to take the blame for it. By pointing finger at someone, we indirectly lift that pressure off ourselves and assuage our guilt that there’s someone who’s doing something wrong too.’
So, in that case, the bible admonishes that we should PICK THE BEAM FROM OUR OWN EYES:
Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”
My research also forced me to FACE MYSELF AND THINK.
‘Put yourself on the other side of it. You’re walking down the street, and you see someone across the block pointing at you. Why are they pointing, did I do something? Is there something wrong? What’s going on?”
Well, that is definitely something to chew on.
In our culture, I have also learnt that some persons have been indoctrinated into believing that once you point, while you are in a cemetery, ‘your fingers will drop off!’
The late, venerable Phinehas Griffin, once told me this story:
He was at a particular cemetery, here on Nevis. It was nearing the conclusion of a funeral service of a loved one and as is the norm at cemeteries, during funeral services, he got engrossed in a conversation. He was speaking with a distinguished lady, at the time occupying a high ranking government job.
In total innocence, he asked the lady, if a particular individual was buried ‘over there.’ He POINTED in the general direction to indicate to her.
Her reaction was instructive: She looked very concerned and alarmed, as she struck him violently on his hand and shouted: ‘Don’t point—you finger gonna drop off.’
If you knew the Phinehas Griffin that I knew, you would know that he deliberately persisted in pointing, while she was literally screaming her head off ‘that his finger was going to drop off!’
So, I have come to the conclusion, that although I absolutely do not see anything wrong in pointing, I will try to resist, this long time habit, as I recognize the fact that I am OFFENDING my brother.
The bible clearly states:
“1 Corinthians 8:13 – Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Proverbs 18:19 – A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
I hope that I have made my POINT.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?