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7 Naked Truths About Relationships Everyone In Love Should Know

7 Naked Truths About Relationships Everyone In Love Should Know

How do you imagine the perfect relationship?

I am pretty sure you think about harmonious conversations, long walks in the park, and romantic evenings with delicious candlelight dinners. When you think about your perfect relationship you probably feel all kinds of positive emotions. You think about respect, security, support, passion, and unconditional love that lasts forever.

While all those emotions can (and should) be an essential part of every relationship, it would be naive to assume that a relationship consists of nothing other than looking into each other’s eyes and smiling as if you are on the most addictive drug that this planet has to offer.

A relationship is much more complex than what Hollywood shows you. Every romantic movie that I can think of ends either with a big wedding or with a scene in which two people kiss and embrace each other in the middle of the street.

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The reason why we love those movies is because they show us an ideal image that we would love to see in our own lives. The danger, however, is that it is impossible to fulfill this ideal image. Yes, you heard right. I said that it is impossible to live in the ideal relationship that the movies portrait. The romance genre sells fantasy just as much as The Lord of the Rings movies do.

You might not want to hear it, but the truth is that there are a lot of things that can happen after the director screams “cut!”. Real life provides you with a lot of unforeseen events that have the power to make you question your ideal picture of the perfect relationship. That’s why it is better to wake up and accept the naked truth about relationships, before the false image that you have created in your mind destroys your relationships in the real world.

1. The perfect relationship doesn’t exist

Nobody is perfect – and relationships aren’t perfect either. Everybody who claims the opposite is either a helpless optimist who ignores reality or somebody who has never been in a relationship and only knows the concept from movies and songs.

I’m not saying that you should stop dreaming about ending up in a relationship with the partner of your dreams. I’m also not saying that you should stop trying to find a partner who makes you happy. All I’m saying is that you have to accept that no relationship can be happy and harmonious 100% of the time. There will always be the tiny 1% that isn’t perfect.

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And you know what? That’s absolutely okay. You and your partner are only human. Expecting that you don’t have any flaws would be completely unrealistic. Just make sure that you don’t allow your false image of the perfect relationship to sabotage your current or future relationship.

2. Love can last if you work on it

You clicked on this article because you wanted to know the naked truths about relationships, so I assume that you are also ready for the naked truth about love. The idea that most people have about love is even more unrealistic than the idea they have about relationships.

According to my experience, most people believe that all they have to do in order to reach a state of lifelong happiness is to meet the love of their life and the love will just magically last forever. Well, if it would be that easy everyone who has ever married the love of their life would still be together with this person.

Unfortunately, the high divorce rate is proof that it is not that easy. What most people forget is that love can fade away, especially when you don’t work on it. On the other hand, love can last and it can get stronger if you are willing to work on it. It is your decision if you work on it or if you allow it to fade away.

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3. Support is a two-way street

There is this famous saying that there is a strong and supportive woman behind every successful man. While this may be true, there should also be a strong and supportive man behind every successful woman.

Support is a two-way street. One of the most common mistakes that both men and women make is that they take the support from their partner for granted. Don’t ever assume that your partner has to support you, just because you are in a relationship. I’ll say it again: support is a two-way street. If you don’t support your partner, you can’t expect to receive a lot of support in return.

4. Your partner is not the only attractive person

In case you are in a relationship, I am sure that you are attracted to you partner. They might even be the person you are attracted to the most. However, just because you desire your partner doesn’t mean that you don’t desire other people. One popular lie that a lot of people believe in is that being attracted to another person who isn’t your partner is the same as cheating and that it is wrong to have those feelings.

Are you ready for the truth? It is neither wrong to have those feelings, nor is it the same as cheating. You are a human being; therefore, it is absolutely natural for you to be attracted to other people. There is a big difference between desiring other people and acting upon this desire.

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5. Your sex life will change

In case you think that your sex life will stay the way it is during the first couple of weeks, you still need to learn a lot about relationships. You sex life will change. That’s an inevitable fact. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that the sex in a relationship gets worse over the years.

A married couple who is willing to try new things, to experiment, and to learn everything about each other’s fantasies can have a far more exciting sex life than a couple who is together for two weeks and doesn’t know anything about each other’s fantasies and desires.

6. Hard times lead to a strong bond

I already told you that the perfect relationship doesn’t exist. As a result, you probably agree with me when I say that there are good times and bad times in every relationship. The only thing that separates happy from unhappy relationships is how both partners deal with those bad times.

You only have two opinions. On the one hand, you can quit whenever it gets tough and end an amazing relationship because it wasn’t as perfect as your favorite movie promised. On the other hand, you can support and love your partner during hard times and enjoy the strong bond and deep connection that you eventually have once you have survived the hard times.

7. Your past leads to your future

A lot of people who sabotage every single one of their relationships do this for only one reason. They are afraid that this relationship will end like the last one. They are terrified that their past will repeat itself.

I hope I don’t have to tell you that this fear works like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only way to break through this vicious cycle is by realizing that it is your past that leads you to your future, but your future doesn’t have to look like your past. If you regard your frustrating past as the road that will lead you to a bright future, you will be able to embrace the idea of landing in a relationship.

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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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