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10 Things People Who Grew Up With Nothing Want You To Know

10 Things People Who Grew Up With Nothing Want You To Know

To those born into affluent or even middle class families, childhood is often a happy stage of life blessed with fun, enjoyment, and excess. Not everyone enjoys this luxury, however, and the fact remains that many children are forced to grow up with nothing in the way of either material possessions or a productive, nurturing home. This is reflected by the fact that an estimated 1.3 billion people currently live in extreme poverty, coping on an average sum of less than $1.25 dollars a day. This represents yet another generation of children who will grow up desolate and without the advantages enjoyed by so many of their contemporaries.

Such hardship teaches crucial life lessons to those who grow up with nothing, however, making them an inspiration for millions like them and a fountain of knowledge for those who are born into more fortunate circumstances. Here are 10 things that people who grew up with nothing want you to know:

1. They struggle to save and manage their finances in later life

For those who grow up poor, life is endured from day-to-day with little emphasis given to core skills such as money management and savings. Given that factors such as rising inflation and volatile economic conditions are already making it difficult for citizens to build a viable retirement fund, a lack of financial management skills can be crippling.

So, while those who experienced poverty as youngsters truly appreciate the value of money, a lack of awareness and practical money management skills make it extremely difficult to save their hard-earned cash.

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2. They can be fiercely Independent to the point of disconnection

In the UK alone, small and independently-owned businesses contribute a staggering £1 trillion to the overall economy. Interestingly, some of the world’s most renowned solo entrepreneurs are famous for growing up with minimal finances, support, and education. This highlights the type of fierce independence and introversion that characterizes those who experience hardship as youngsters.

While this can clearly be a positive thing, the sense of independence felt by those who grew up with nothing can also prevent them from forming personal and professional relationships with others. This means that they can struggle to work with others in some instances, while they may also experience trust issues that lead to a disconnected and difficult existence.

3. They struggle to form romantic relations and close friendships

On a similar note, those who are forced to purely focus on survival in their youth tend to develop an introspective and introverted personality. This is something that I can attest to myself, as I have also struggled to build close friendships with others even as I have entered adulthood. This comes from the lack of a fundamental social skill set, which is learned while attending school and interacting with other children in a carefree manner.

Additionally, those who are not nurtured as children or come from abusive homes are not set a positive example when it comes to forming loving, adult relationships. They are also loath to let their guard down, making it difficult to communicate effectively or share even positive feelings. This is something you need to bear in mind when entering a relationship with someone who experienced hardship in their youth, as the cultivation of trust and romance may take a little longer.

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4. They may not have experienced a traditional education

While people who grew up with nothing may have significant book smarts, they may lack the type of structured and traditional education that so many of you may have enjoyed. I myself left school at 17, and the fact remains that youngsters without financial security or a stable, loving home are far more likely to move regularly and switch schools.

This type of disruption can significantly hinder formative education, making it difficult to become eligible for higher degree course in later life. As a result of this, affected individuals are forced to either pursue alternative and independent paths or carry their burden of their upbringing throughout adulthood.

5. They are not always motivated by the pursuit of self-serving goals

People that grow up with nothing often place their own interests to one side as they look to support others. This is a direct result of their upbringing, as they have an innate affinity with suffering and empathize with others as a way of preventing them from experiencing similar hardship.

6. They are not materialistic

Those who grew up with nothing have little or no interest in material possessions, however, as they have a broader understanding of life and have developed an appreciation for altogether more basic values. This means that they are more likely to appreciate and place a higher value on close friendships and family, while time spent in the company of loved ones is also given huge priority.

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7. They may struggle to evolve as their circumstances improve

As children we learn more through example than words, so it stands to reason that our brains should be most receptive between the ages of two and five. This means that those who experience hardship during their youth quickly become accustomed to the harsh lessons of such a reality, creating a template that continues throughout later life.

As a result of this, these people may struggle to adapt their outlook or lifestyle as their circumstances improve. This means that while long-suffering individuals never lose touch with their childhood or their underlying resourceful, they can often fail to change their habits during more prosperous times.

8. They occasionally repeat the mistakes of their parents

If we assume that those who grew up with nothing struggle to adapt their lifestyle in a progressive manner, it is also fair to surmise that they are prone to repeating the mistakes of their parents. This can manifest itself in many ways, from an inability to showcase love for their children to an over-reliance on making food and products last for longer even when they have the money to replace them.

9. They may be unfairly cynical of tthers

We have already touched on how those who grow up with nothing may be exposed or hostile or neglectful personalities during their youth. This creates an innate sense of suspicion and mistrust in others, while it also forces some individuals to rely heavily on their instincts and develop genuine skill in reading the people around them.

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While this can be a beneficial skill to have, an overwhelming sense of cynicism can cause you to become mistrustful of those who could actually have a positive influence on your life. By relying purely on instinct and past experience alone, those who grow old with nothing may struggle to build productive and mutually beneficial partnerships in later life.

10. They struggle to identify with their own culture

The principle of association is one of the underlying pillars of psychology, and one that can have a huge impact on children who grow up with nothing. This psychological principle creates associations that link our thought processes and specific circumstances, which in turn manifest themselves in our consciousness as we grow older.

As a result of this, a challenging and harrowing upbringing can create negative associations regarding cultural identity. While this leaves individuals disconnected from aspects of their own cultural identity, however, it also makes them more open to other values and alternative cultural beliefs.

Featured photo credit: Flickr / Rudolf Vlček 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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