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17 Important Life Lessons I Wish My Daughters Knew Earlier

17 Important Life Lessons I Wish My Daughters Knew Earlier

As a mother of two girls, there are many things that keep me awake at night. Our world is becoming smaller and increasingly artificial, reducing the chances of children learning life lessons that are so vital to them. If children don’t learn these lessons on their own, I take it as my responsibility to impart as much wisdom while I still can. And, here are 17 life lessons that I want my daughters to know before it’s too late.

1. Be Content

We live in an age of instant gratification, with the latest mobile phones and clothes becoming a statement to the world. Learning to be content from early on will help as your daughters grow up. They won’t always get what they want, and that’s okay.

2. It’s Okay To Make Mistakes

Firstly, everyone, no matter how perfect, has made mistakes, even your mother. Mistakes are part of growing up. The important thing is to learn from them. The bigger the mistake, the more there is to learn.

3. Life Isn’t Easy

Anyone that has ever achieved anything in life has done it with steely determination and without expecting anything to come for free. The only way to get what you want is to go out there and take it.

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4. Your Opinions Matter The Most

What others think of you doesn’t matter as much as what you think of yourself. People may try to impose their ideas of perfection on you and try to get you to conform to their ideals. As long as you know who you are and what you stand for, it shouldn’t affect you.

5. You Look Great As You Are

There will be pressure on you to look a certain way. There will be people that judge you based on your body, on how fat or thin they think you are. As long as your healthy, what they think doesn’t matter. Everyone is made differently, your beautiful just as you are.

6. Food Is Your Friend

Being skinny is not the same as being healthy. You may feel pressure to stop eating, or only eat “diet” food. These bad eating habits that will only spoil your health. You don’t need to starve yourself to lose weight. A balanced diet and a little exercise will go a long way.

7. Cherish True Friends

You’ll have plenty of friends that will come and go. But, there are a few that will stay with you through all the ups and downs life throws at you. Never take them for granted, true friendship is a valuable commodity.

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8. Kindness Is Key

A little kindness goes a long way. Even in situations where you have every right to be rude, maintaining your attitude and being sensitive to the situation will help define who you are.

9. Learn To Accept Change

In life, there’s only one thing that’s constant, and that’s change. The sooner you accept that fact, that faster you will be happier. Change can be used as fuel, to grow and become who you always wanted to be.

10. Have Fun

Having fun is one of life’s greatest gifts. Don’t get too caught up in things that may seem like the world now. They will become inconsequential in a few years. No matter what the situation, or how dreary it may look, find a way to have a little fun.

11. Set Goals, Work Towards Them

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. A personal or professional goal, don’t be afraid to set lofty aims. Once you’ve decided what you’re aiming for, make sure you work towards them, even if it’s one small step at a time.

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12. Keep Your Faith

When times get hard, get on your knees and pray. Your faith is like an anchor; it will keep you grounded and help you overcome difficult situations.

13. Family Is Everything

As you grow, you’ll feel the need to stand up on your own. Especially in your teens, your relationship with your family may strain. It may seem like a burden rather than a blessing. The truth is you won’t find the same level of acceptance and love anywhere else.

14. Your Possessions And Your Values Are Separate Things

Having expensive clothes, the latest electronics, and fancy cars isn’t the answer to life’s problems. Things you own or the money you earn are not what should define your value. Those are easy come easy go, what will last is your character, your relationships, and your self-worth.

15. Love Isn’t Like The Movies

Know all those fairy-tale relationships where the princess live happily ever after? It doesn’t always work that way. Relationships need to be cared for and nurtured. Compromise and understanding are the core of happy families.

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16. There Isn’t Much You Cant do

The sky WAS the limit. You define your limits, not your situation or your environment.  If your focused, and willing to put in the hard work, there’s nothing that can stop you.

17. I’ll Always Be There For You

Whether you live next door or in another country, if you feel like you’ve made a mistake or just want to talk, I’ll always be there for you. Daughters are a precious gift; they seem to grow up so much faster than little boys. Life can be full of ups and downs; there is no way you can foresee what it’s coming and try and prepare for it. That’s why I hope these life lessons will help them when they need it the most.

Featured photo credit: http://freephotostags.com/ via freephotostags.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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