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15 Signs You Are A Truly Free Person

15 Signs You Are A Truly Free Person

While it may mean something different for all of us, everyone savors the idea of freedom. We all have degrees of freedom in our lives, but for most people, freedom feels somewhat unattainable. Even if we have financial freedom, we may not have emotional freedom (e.g. depression or anxiety). If we have freedom in our careers, we might not have physical freedom (e.g. diseases and poor health). It’s difficult to get all the components in place. So if you’re wondering just how “free” you are in your life right now, see if you match any of these traits of a truly free person.

1. You dread nothing

It’s hard to feel free when you wake up every morning and a wave of dread washes over you – dread about having to go to work, dread about certain troubled relationships, etc. Free people rarely experience this feeling. Their either eliminate what doesn’t suit them, or they change their perspective about it.

2. Your habits serve you

There’s a difference between habits and addictions. A truly free person will have habits that they’ve consciously cultivated, like getting exercise in a way that they enjoy. These are’t self-damaging habits, like smoking, eating fast food, or spending time with toxic people. Free people have recognized how these things disempower them.

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3. You make your own decisions

If you feel restricted from making the decisions you want, it’s especially difficult to feel free. A free person will ignore negative judgement from others because they know what’s best for themselves. They also avoid handing too much power over to people with overbearing and forceful personalities.Free people don’t give in to peer pressure and meaningless obligations that don’t benefit them.

4. You are full of energy

A lack of energy is a barrier to your physical freedom. So those who are truly free will expend their energy in ways they enjoy. They are not constantly running out of energy, but rather, always recharging. This includes very different activities for different people, but the overall affect of feeling energized is the same.

5. You believe in your abilities

If you believe you are capable of achieving your goals, you free yourself up to actually move toward those things. If you are skeptical of your abilities, you feel unable to try, or like you don’t have the right to try Free people are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and play life to their own advantage. They don’t waste time berating themselves over mistakes, and can view them as a learning experience.

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6. You are financially comfortable

This isn’t based on the amount of money you earn. Rather, it is dictated by your feelings toward money. Free people may live on very low salaries or very high salaries. Regardless of their actual income, they afford what they need and feel stable instead of constantly stressed. A free person will not feel the need to overspend in order to reach fulfillment.

7. You ask for help from others

It may seem counter-intuitive, but true freedom usually involves help from others. Truly free people will ask for advice in order to better themselves, or ask for direct assistance without feeling embarrassed. They recognize that refusing help from others is a personally-imposed restriction to their freedom. Essentially, free people are not governed by pride.

8. You have free time

Obviously, true freedom involves some free time! Even if your schedule is packed, it can be packed with things you decided and wanted to do. This can also be considered free time because you are living as you intend to live. A free person will divvy up their time into work and play without overindulging in either.

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9. You know yourself

Because freedom involves doing what you want and living how you wish, knowing yourself is a precursor to freedom. Free people know enough about their likes, dislikes, values, standards, and goals to actually attain freedom. Living by another’s standards is a kind of spiritual laziness, and is a barrier to freedom that some may not recognize.

10. You are independent

Just as freedom involves asking for help when you need it, independence is another significant component. Free people don’t feel needy or unstable when they’re alone. They also don’t depend on others for their basic needs, like food and clean clothes. (Yes, free people still need to do their laundry). Basically, free people are not hindered by a sense of helplessness, which prevents people from caring for themselves.

11. You are physically healthy

A truly free person won’t find themselves surrounded by prescription pills, medical bills, and junk food. A free person will take their health into their own hands and improve their bodies the best they can when a health problem arises. They won’t allow negative addictions to creep in and hold their health hostage.

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12. You laugh

Why does laughing make you free? Because it’s your primary right to enjoy yourself and your life. Someone who doesn’t laugh is missing out on the simplest and most basic form of freedom. A truly free person will take time out for laughter because they know they deserve it.

13. You fulfill your needs

By now, you’ve realized that your needs must be met, and this is something that free people consciously monitor. Free people don’t wait for their needs to be met by others; they assess them on an ongoing basis. They rest when they need to, call a friend when they need to, and even push themselves to work harder when it’s the best thing for them.

14. You don’t let others hold you back

Freedom involves healthy boundaries between you and others. The opposite of this is codependency, which causes people to rely excessively on others for their self worth. Truly free people don’t derive their self worth from external people or events. They judge themselves according to their own reasonable standards, and stay on track with their goals regardless of the behavior of others.

15. You have fun

If you’re truly free, you spend a lot of your time in a state of joy and contentment. You’re not anxiously anticipating the future or a better day. You’re not waiting for permission to enjoy something. You are simple living in the moment, and savoring the twists and turns that come with life.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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