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It May Not Be Easy to Love An Old Soul, But It’s Life Changing

It May Not Be Easy to Love An Old Soul, But It’s Life Changing

There is a special type of person in this world who is often misunderstood. They tend to be the loner, the free spirit, the wide-eyed innocent lover. They see the world for all it can — and should be — though the world rarely sees them. They are the old souls, the dreamers, the people so in-tune with life, so intuitive of emotion, that they scare us. Not because of who they are, but because of who we aren’t, what we lack.

Old souls reach depths we cannot possibly comprehend. They have a connection with God, with the universe, with nature, and that’s why they’re the people who will change the world. We often feel inferior, like we have to work extra hard to be remotely close to their level, to be deserving of their love.

It takes a confident person to love an old soul. But man is it worth it. It will change your life.

1. They are romantic.

They are the Audrey Hepburns and Grace Kellys, the Gregory Pecks and Frank Sinatras of this world, who cherish our hearts and do it with style: with picnics and candles and elements of surprise. Old souls have a flair for fun, for passion and adventure, that they’ll reveal to those they love.

2. They’re loyal.

Give an old soul love, respect, passion, and they’ll be faithful to you forever. Old souls aren’t after superficial friendships, or one-night-stands. They value depth. Truth. Authenticity. And if you meet that need, the love they have for you will never die.

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They’ll be there for you when dreams shatter, when life gets tough, in joy and sorrow.

3. They help us grow.

Old souls have inquisitive minds. They’re easily inspired and desire to learn as much as they can about the world and those around them. They don’t fear change or adventure. They’re open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. They desire to grow as people (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) so they inspire us to grow and change as well.

One can’t live by fear when loving an old soul.

4. They’re not materialistic.

Old souls care more about experiences, about spending quality time together than they’ll ever care about expensive jewelry and flowers or what money buys. They value you, the wonderful person you are, the person they fell in love with.

And if you invest your time and energy into loving an old soul, if you make time for them — beach strolls, dinners out, chilling on the couch watching Netflix, etc. — they’ll be fulfilled and so will you.

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5. They understand the deep connections of life.

Old souls can seem withdrawn at times, almost burdened down with the stress of the world around them. They often reflect about love and pain and worry. Their minds are hard at work trying to solve the problems of the world and the problems of their soul. They do this because of a strong desire to heal the world. To help others and help themselves.

So, appreciate their rich, magical emotions that run deep. Accept their desire to write and draw and paint. Encourage them. Cherish the depths of their soul. Then let them fly so they may share their open heart with the broken.

6. They’re thankful.

Because what’s good in this world can seem few and far between, old souls seek out and appreciate beauty. Whether it’s a radiant sunset or an act of kindness from a stranger, old souls recognize that the clouds do roll in, that people don’t have to be kind. So when someone goes out of their way, old souls take notice and give thanks. Old souls look for the best in people, for the beauty in their surroundings, for the blessings in life. And they often find it. Which makes old souls a light to be around.

7. They model bravery.

To live life misunderstood, to be unappreciated, taken for-granted, the group outcast — and still survive — WOW. Old souls are the bravest, most courageous people I know. They walk a painful road few in this life are chosen to walk, and yet they somehow muster the strength to smile. To be selfless. To support others.

Maybe not all the time. Not every day. But old souls know the trenches of pain and instead of being bitter, they make the world a better place.

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8. They’re authentic.

Old souls are not fake. They don’t play games. And they won’t tell you what you want to hear when they don’t believe in it. So the good news: You get the truth–whether you like it or not. And yes, while sometimes the truth can hurt, at least it’s real.

And yes, when an old soul is sad, they can’t hide it. Which can be a painful process to watch when you love them. But remember, anyone can be fake.

Old souls are who they are and that’s why we love them.

9. They have faith in us.

They see the good in us when we fail to see it ourselves. We can be the biggest idiots, the most selfish, ungrateful people, and an old soul won’t give up on us.They push us to be better, stronger, more authentic people. They remind us of what’s beautiful in this world. They inspire us to follow our heart and pursue our dreams.

They’re the kind of people we need in our lives because they they see the potential we have yet to see.

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10. They love us.

To be loved by an old soul is to feel the vast expanses of oceans and heavens and stars collide into one. The love of an old soul is a deep, genuine, fire burning love that ignites the depravity within our own souls. It is intense and powerful, selfless and unfailing. To love and be loved by an old soul heals us, changes us, and molds us into more caring, more passionate people.

Old souls are the sun. They’re the spark. They’re all the colors of a rainbow, and the depths of the earth. They may be misunderstood, but they’re love is real, their hearts pure.

Fall in love with an old soul and you’ll never fall in love again.

Featured photo credit: Girl Chasing Seagulls on Beach/Anton Petukhov via flickr.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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