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Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

It’s easy to say “FML,” but every time yousay that, youare actually giving up your control over your life.

Even though we don’t have control over others and external situations, we do have control over ourselves and our choices. Blaming others and events for our misfortune is an easy way out, but it doesn’t help to solve your problems.

Taking responsibility and admitting you screwed up takes courage. But, once you own up to your mistakes and realize youare incontrol of your life, you willmake decisions that move you forward.

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When you come from a poor family, work smarterthan everybody else.

Ifyou come from a poor family, don’t blame it on life’sunfairness. Don’t ask why other kidshave an easier life than you or whytheir parents can buy them things while yours can’t.Everyone’s starting point is different. Don’t make your ending point the same as your starting point. Instead, work smartand believe that you have the power to makeyour life better.

Here’s how to work hard:

  1. Be grateful for what you have. Count the things that money can’t buy —happiness, talent, passion.
  2. Use what you have. If your parents can’t afford to buy you toys, use your imagination. Make games and toys out of scraps.
  3. Discoveryour strengths. Everyone has strengths. When you have the minimum, it is easier for you to know what your strengthsare.
  4. Work smart while working hard. Working hard comes after knowing what your strengths are, because you want to be able to leverage your strengths. Your parents could be working hard, but still earning very little. You want to work smart too, and not just work hard.
  5. Find your motivation.Work hard not just for yourself, but also work hard for the people you care about (for example, to give your parents a better life).

When you weren’t loved as a child, spread love to others.

It’s difficult to believe inlove when you come from a broken family or when your parents abused you. But blaming your parents for your childhood won’thelp you at all.Instead, take control of your life and stopthis vicious loop.Spread love instead of hate. You’ll find more joyin doing so.

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Here’s how to spread love:

  1. Love yourself first. You can’t love someone else when you don’t love yourself. You didn’t receive much love from your parents and you might doubt if you deserve love. So, find the good qualities inyourself and build your self-esteem first.
  2. Forgive your parents.Your parents have their own problems too. Manyparents don’t know how to be parents because they weren’t taught how to. Forgivingthem doesn’t mean you condone what they have done.
  3. Know you have the ability to love.Just because you didn’t receive love as a child, doesn’t mean you can’t give love. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind to others.
  4. Practice empathy. You know how it felt to notreceive enough love. Don’t let others feel the same way.
  5. Spread love withoutexpecting it to be returned. Not everyone will return your kindness, but that’s okay. You love yourself enough. Anything else is a bonus. Plus, the real joy comes from giving, not receiving.

When you hate your job, find a new one.

It’s tempting to blame your boss for giving you too much work, or your colleagues for making your life miserable. But, you have a choice. If you hate your current job so much, stop complaining about it and get a new one. You are responsible for your own happiness.

Here’s how to find a new job:

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  1. Know yourself well. The job you hate might be a job that another person loves.Some jobs donotfit your personality. It’s up to you to find out what fits you.
  2. Do an audit for your current job. Know what you like and dislike about your current job. For your next job, find something that encompasses more of your likes and less of your dislikes.
  3. Budget. Knowing your current financial status and expenses is important. Sometimes, you think you can’t change jobs because you are financially restricted.Doing a budget will help you find ways to cut your expenses.
  4. Buildnew relationship. You think it’s unfair that others are able to get jobs easier than you because of their relationships. The truth is that relationships are important. Most jobvacanciesaren’t advertised. They are filled by recommendations.
  5. Learn. Don’t be jealous of successful people. Learn from them.Understand what they do to become successful and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for your next job.

When your health gives you problems, care foryour body.

Don’t blame bad genes for yourweight issues or hair loss problems.You may not have the best genes in the world, but you can do something about your health.

Here’s how to care for your body:

  1. Listen to your body.When you have an illness or pain, your body is telling you that you need to pay attention to that part of your body. So listen carefully to these signs.
  2. Develop healthy routines. Don’t wait for your body to break down, then eat healthy food and exercise. Health is about maintaining, not about fixing.
  3. Understandyour system. Not all bodies are builtthe same. Everyone’s body works differently. If you know that you put on weight easily, be mindful about your sugar intake. You can’t choose your genes, but you can choose what you put inside your mouth.
  4. Accept your body.Love your body more than that piece of chocolate cake because it willbe with you tillyou die.
  5. Give it a break. When you are tired, sleep. Mediate or fast if necessary. Your body is working hard for you all day long. Schedule time to rest your organs.

When someoneyou love betrays you, let them go.

You deserve better. Don’t allow people who are problematic and mean to hinder your life. Let them goand embrace the future.

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Here’s how to let them go:

  1. Practice forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, but forgiveness is the first step to being free. And it’s not just about forgiving them, it’s also about forgiving yourself for trusting the wrong person.
  2. Don’t be the savior. Your ego will make you think you areable to save them. No, you can’t. Only they can change themselves. And if you are genuinely in love with them, you won’t need them to change.
  3. Leave their life. Even though you forgive them doesn’t mean theydeserve your attention. Excluding them from your lifegives you a chance to heal.
  4. Raise your standards.Learn how to say no, especially topeople who take advantage of you. Choose who you allow into your life.
  5. Don’t losehope. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll find someone better in the future. They are just not the one.

Featured photo credit: Man/Avel Chuklanov via stocksnap.io

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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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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