As you start this week, think a little bit about how you make others feel when you’re around. I’ve heard it said that as writers, we should notice how our words make readers feel, and not just how they think. So it is with the rest of life, I think. And not just with our words.

I roomed with my friend (and contributor) Robin this past weekend, and she told me something she heard a woman teach one time at a finishing school for adults. (Side note: How interesting is it that Robin has been to a finishing school?)

The woman asked this: When you walk in to a room, does your body language and your expression say, “Here I am!” Or does it say, “There you are!”

I love that.

I heard all sorts of good things this past weekend, but that one ten-second comment rattled around in my brain for days. What does my demeanor say to other people? I confess it’s not always what I mean in my head.

Don’t be overly concerned about appearances, of course, fretting over how you seem outwardly to the demise of how you’re really doing internally. But don’t ignore your demeanor, either. Do you smile at your kids? Your spouse? When you bump into an acquaintance at the store, do you look her in the eye and ask her questions about her day? And then really listen with your body, your face?

We focus so often on making our homes hospitable. But what about ourselves? I admit that I’m not the best at this. But my friend’s good word reminded me that this is a thing for me to better practice—the art of hospitality with my countenance.

Top photo: American Gothic, courtesy Wikimedia Commons