Advertising
Advertising

8 Things That Happen When You Stop Comparing

8 Things That Happen When You Stop Comparing

Comparing yourself to other people can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being.

In this age of social media we have instant access to everyone’s life, from our 8th grade ex boyfriend to Taylor Swift’s cats (even though Meredith and Olivia are too stinkin’ cute.)

But with that instant access comes the fear of inferiority. Why is everyone’s life so much better than mine?

Advertising

If you are waiting for your boyfriend to propose, it seems like everyone on your FaceBook timeline is getting engaged. If you are having issues getting pregnant, it seems like everyone on your Instagram feed is posting ultrasound pictures or baby bump updates.

Whatever the case may be, it seems like all we do is constantly compare ourselves to other people and, at the end of the day, who is that actually benefiting?  Below are a list of 8 things that will happen when you stop comparing yourself to others.

1. You will realize how many wonderful things you already have.

Stop thinking about what you don’t have, and take a quick inventory of what you do have: a job (even if it’s not a great job), friends (even if it’s only a few close ones), a place to live (even if it’s not as big or beautiful as you want). There is always something you have to be grateful for in your life, so find out what those are and take a moment to be thankful.

Advertising

2. You will stop stressing over the things you do not have.

Once you have started being thankful for what you do have, you will stop stressing over the things that you don’t. It’s always great to have goals and aspire for bigger and better things, but it is not healthy to constantly focus on whatever it is you feel like your life is lacking.

3. You will put more focus on reaching your goals.

If there is something that your life is “lacking”, such as a college degree, or other realistically obtainable “thing”; it will only be once you have stopped feeling sorry for yourself, that you can put that energy towards obtaining it. Find out what it is you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to, and see if it’s something you have the ability to change or not. For example, if you are comparing yourself to people who are skinnier or more fit than you, take some steps towards eating better and leading a healthier lifestyle.

4. You will realize that what you are comparing yourself to is not always accurate.

Especially in terms of Social Media, what you see is definitely not always what you get. People are only putting the best versions of themselves out there for everyone to see.  So what you are comparing yourself to is an unfair comparison; like looking in a magazine and trying to obtain the look of the photo-shopped model. It may look perfect on the outside, but always remember that every single person has things they feel like their life is missing.

Advertising

5. You’ll see a rise in your self-esteem.

There is always going to be someone stronger, smarter, richer, and more beautiful then you. All you can do is set goals for yourself if there are things that you want to change, but beyond that, you are who you are. You have to find out what the best qualities are about you and let those shine, while working on any attributes you feel need changed; but for YOU. Not for the benefit of others’.

6. You will become a better friend.

Those closest to us are the easiest to compare ourselves to. If you feel like your friends all have things that you don’t, you may resent them without even knowing it. There’s nothing more upsetting then your friend giving you good news, and you responding with, “I’m so happy for you, but…” Nothing good can come from feeling that you deserve something more than a friend or family member.

7. You will realize that life isn’t always fair.

This one may sound cliché, but seriously. It all comes down to, “But it’s not fair that this person has this and I don’t.” Luckily, as adults, we realize the childishness of this thought and can, hopefully, move past it. Just because someone has something that you feel like you deserve more, is not going to give you whatever that is. Just like calling someone else dumb will not make you and smarter, or calling someone else fat will not make you any thinner. Realize that you are the master of your own universe and can shape your life to however you see fit, you just have to have the will-power to leave the negativity behind, and go for the gold.

Advertising

8. You will be happier.

This is, easily, the best reason to stop comparing yourself to others’. Again, constantly focusing on what other people have is mentally exhausting and, frankly, depressing. Once you’ve found the strength to stop seeing everything as a competition, you will breathe so much easier and your mental and physical well-being will reward you.

Featured photo credit: Andrés Nieto Porras via flickr.com

More by this author

Why letting go of your “Big Love” is okay. Ways to Successfully Remain Friends With an Ex 8 Things That Happen When You Stop Comparing What Happens When You’re 40 Weeks Pregnant 10 Reasons It’s Hard For Smart Women To Find Love

Trending in Communication

1 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 2 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 3 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 4 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 5 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next