In a sea of emotionless texts and sterile emails, it's easy to forget about the power of the pen. Find out what you can learn about yourself, and others, with the help of an expert handwriting analyst.
By Sheila Lowe, forensic handwriting analyst
Do you think handwriting is a dying art? It’s true that these days most people seem to use the keyboard more often than the pen, but there are good reasons to make handwriting a regular part of your day.
Why bother to write when it’s so much easier to just dash off an email or a text message? The answer is simple: handwriting is an intimate and accurate reflection of who you are and what makes you tick. It’s a behavior that gives you an opportunity to express something about yourself in a way that you can’t do with a keyboard.
Think of the last time you went to your snail mailbox and found a letter hand-addressed to you from someone you know. You probably had no trouble identifying the person who addressed the envelope. You knew the letter was from your grandpa, or your sister, or your best friend who moved to Paris, because Grandpa’s handwriting is different from your sister’s and both are different from your best friend. And all are different from yours.
Like fingerprints, handwriting is unique to the one who wrote it. That’s why you knew who penned that envelope.
Everyone has their own personality style and temperament, which affects the various experiences we draw into our lives and the ways we respond to them. So, doesn’t it make sense that someone with an outgoing, expansive personality might write with large letters and take up lots of space on the page, while someone else who is shy and quiet would have smaller writing—it even looks shy.
The fact is, your handwriting is not simply a collection of static marks on a sheet of paper. The flow of ink from your pen becomes a living part of you. Your essence is captured and distilled in the curves and lines you leave behind. The way you organize your life and time; how you feel about yourself; what drives you—these and more are revealed in your handwriting. And that includes printed writing, so don’t give me that “you can’t analyze my writing because I print!” b.s.
Any form of written communication can be analyzed by exploring the way the writing is spaced on the page, the style itself (akin to a computer font—printed, school type, elaborate, etc.), and the way the writing “moves” on the paper.
You know how sometimes you phone a friend and his voice sounds different, you immediately know something’s wrong, like he’s in a crappy mood? In the same way moods affect your voice, the expression on your face and your body language, they also affect the way you write.
For example, when that hot chick agrees to go out with you and you’re feeling stoked, the baseline of your handwriting may rise a little. On the other hand, if she turns you down and you’re bummed, the baseline droops. When you’re ticked off you’ll probably press heavier on the pen and your letters may slant more to the right. These are temporary changes, but handwriting also changes permanently over time to reflect your experiences—the painful ones, the happy ones, those that produce emotional growth.We can look at a page of writing as if it were a photograph of the inner workings of the person who wrote it and how he felt at the time.
Barack Obama’s flexible handwriting with it’s cleverly combined letters reveals a quick thinker; a consensus builder who cares about people, but who doesn’t always know when to stop building.
Tiger Woods has been in the news a lot lately because of acting like a man whore. What does his handwriting reveal? The enormous lower loops he makes tell the truth—he has very strong physical drives, yet his final strokes turn back like an arm protecting himself, keeping others away. He has intimacy issues.
Brad Pitt’s stylish signature makes efficient use of his initials, stripping away every stroke that isn’t absolutely essential, to create a sword-like logo. He’s a quick learner whose intuition fills in the gaps. The long downstroke of the P/t combination is a sign of determination and a need to be right.
So, what does it mean if you have messy, illegible handwriting? For one thing it suggests that you don’t care much about how other people perceive you. It can also indicate a cluttered mind. But really, no one aspect of handwriting means anything; except within the context of a particular sample, so it’s hard to generalize (a handwriting sample needs to be looked at as a whole, like looking at a picture). But an organized page with adequate spacing and balanced margins is usually written by a man who knows where things belong in his life and who knows where he’s going.
A clear, legible signature says you’re confident and comfortable in your skin, you don’t need to pretend you’re something you’re not.
Knowing what handwriting says makes it possible to create better relationships. Understanding what motivates someone puts you way ahead of the game. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew something about your girlfriend’s thought processes, or why your wife behaves the way she does in social situations? Handwriting can give you information that answers those questions, so don’t just shrug it off as unimportant or passé. It provides a direct and personal window to the psyche that can’t be accessed in any other way. When you put words on paper, you are leaving behind a tangible piece of yourself.
You are welcome to analyze your own handwriting for free at www.writinganalysis.com and see what it says about you.
Sheila Lowe is a forensic handwriting analyst and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous (www.sheilalowe.com), and the Forensic Handwriting mystery series (www.claudiaroseseries.com).