Are you a left-hander too?
Based on the statistics, there are a lot of people out there living their life as a right-hander while they are actually a left-hander.
When you are reading these lines, I assume, you have a suspicion that you (or someone you love) might be a left-hander yourself.
In my previous post, I was pointing out that I always preferred wearing my watch on the right wrist even though I was supposed to be a right-hander for years.
I recommend reading Am I a left-hander first to hear how I found out that I am a left-hander.
Today, I want to give you some examples and tests you can do at home to make the first check whether you are a lefty or not.
You know that I went to a specialist to get the final -or let´s call it official- result and this is what I recommend to everyone: Do not make any life-changing decisions based on anything you read here or somewhere else. Make sure to consult an expert and make educated decisions based on that outcome.
However - doing some research and tests beforehand is a smart move. Keep on reading this post- you´re on the right track (pun intended).
Not knowing is common
If you wonder how I could live for 30 years as a right-hander not knowing that I actually was a lefty, be assured: You are not alone.
I am wondering about this as well and my family does and maybe everyone should.
It´s kind of awkward, but this not-knowing or simply assuming close to everyone is a right-hander is common nowadays. Otherwise, the "official" numbers of left-handers within our society wouldn´t be 10 to 15% but somewhere around 50%.
There is actually an interesting story behind this -let´s call it - victory of right-handers in our society and if you want to learn more about it and how it came that left-handers were forced (willingly or unwillingly) to act as a right-hander, there are wonderful articles about this out there: I can only recommend you to read a bit about this on other blogs. There are plenty out there focussing specifically on this topic.
I have not been forced to act as a right-hander or become one - not by my family and also not by my teachers. In my case it kind of happened in the backend - unintentionally and unforced. I can´t remember that anyone ever asked me to use the "good hand" or to avoid using my left hand for any actions.
I just happened. And I guess exactly the same happened to many other people as well.
Funnily there are many things I always did with my left hand, but this kind of fell under the table.
The Tests for home-use
Let us assume there are three different kinds of learnings
Trial and error (think of self-teaching)
There must be hundreds of thousands of things children and adults learn via imitation each day. And depending on who we are copying moves and behavior from, we might do things in this or that manner.
When thinking about the people in my childhood I guess all of them were right-handers (at least they acted like right-handers). As a result, I copied their way of doing things and acted as a right-hander myself. Sounds logical, right?
What I realized is that most of the actions I have been taught by someone I execute with the right hand. As an example: Hand-writing or tooth brushing.
Trial and Error
Let´s get to the beef: there are also things I taught myself via trial and error or no real lesson was required to learn it. Quite a few of those, I naturally do with the left hand. As an example: Sweep with a broom or wearing my watch on the right arm. It simply feels better, I am more efficient and is more comfortable for me.
Based on that, I believe self-tests to determine which hand you really prefer must only focus on thinks from category 3 or instinctive activities that you have not been taught doing in a specific way. For our tests, we are assuming those actions are natural behaviors and coming from deep down yourself. And as no one really cares about how you perform those things: You have not been corrected doing it differently. Hopefully!
We conclude: you most likely do most of them based on whether you are a right- or a left-hander. Still - no guarantee and please consult an expert if you want a real diagnosis.
OK - we had already the wrist you prefer for your watch and the broom (by the way, the hand closer to the ground is the primary hand).
Test 1: On your knees
Let´s say, you want to propose to your partner. As the real old-school romantic you are, you would never ever think of anything else than doing this on your knee.
Don´t be shy - go test it for your big moment and knee down!
And now tell me: Which knee do you prefer to have on the ground?
I am sure there is only one side that feels comfortable. The other knee on the ground feels kind of wrong. I mean, of course, it would work and you can knee on the other one as well, but it simply doesn´t feel right, right?
Test 2: Fold your hands
To not make you wonder why we are testing your legs, we now do a test with your hands:
Fold your hands together so that your fingers interlock. Done? Good!
Now look at your thumbs and tell me: Which one is on top?
Right thumb: You are maybe a righty
Left thumb: You are maybe a lefty
Is there a better handedness?
No. Not at all. There is only handedness. Left or right.
By the way: There is also no right or wrong handedness. It is not better to be one or the other. It´s not about being in the cool-kids club as both are equally cool. What we are trying to find out is your real handedness so that you can act accordingly and make your life a bit easier and a bit better maybe.
If you are currently living a life with a mismatch in what you are and what you think you are there is room for improvement. No doubts.
Test 3: Fold your arms
For this test, get up and walk around a bit. Pretend you see something that makes you wonder and now: Stop walking and fold your arms in front of your chest.
Or simply fold your arms as if you are bored, annoyed, standing in a queue and forgot your mobile...
Now - let´s have a look at your arms (not the hands): Which one is actually closer to your body and which one is laying on top of the other arm?
The arm on the top could react faster and grab something quickly. This one is your primary arm.
Test 4: Open your eyes
We are testing your eyes now and if you start wondering why we are doing this all-body approach to test your handedness, let me tell you: It is not about your hands: It is about your brain. Your brain determines your handedness and the way you are doing things. The hands are only one part of the hardware your brain is using for its magic.
Back to the test: Look out for something static a bit far away: It can be a spider on the wall on the other side of the room or a clock or a lamp.
Target what you chose with both eyes and now point with your finger directly on it and make sure that your arm is fully stretched out to increase the distance between your eye and the finger the most.
Once your finger point directly on that object - hold still - and now close one eye: Is the finger still pointing directly on the object?
Now open the eye again and close the other one.
Which eye was open when the finger pointed directly on the object?
I thought it would be a good thing to also share my results with you:
I prefer having my left knee on the ground.
My left thumb is the one on top.
My left arm is on top.
Here I do not have a clear result but in most cases, my left eye is the strong one.
We only went through a little number of testings, but maybe you already found a tendency. There are quite some more tests you can do at home before doing the next step and consult an expert.
You can maybe even think about a couple of tests your own: How do you open a bottle of water? How do you tie your shoestrings? Was it always easy for you to actually cut with a knife and not simply press with it? How easily did you manage to make those tiny circular movements with your toothbrush back then? Which sock do you put on first? The left or the right? And your shoes?
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can watch out in the next weeks, and if you are in doubt or think you might not be right-hander after all: Go and consult an expert to find out your real handedness.
So - what are your thoughts on your handedness? What are your results? Leave a comment below.
All the best,