This post was inspired by a body language signal given off by a woman which I saw recently. She saw me and reflexively turned sideways, crossed her arms, lowered her head, lowered her eyes and grimaced. When I saw this, I knew that the woman was experiencing pain, but I didn’t realize the full import.
A while later it hit me. I had done this very same thing back in college. My college girlfriend broke up with me. Every day I would see her as I walked on campus and experienced emotional torment and sometimes would adopt the very same body language that I saw in the woman recently. The emotional pain is severe and akin to getting sucker punched with the wind knocked out of you–only worse due to the intense sorrow and grief.
It may be important to be able to recognize this signal when you see it.