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Can’t Get Over Your Past Relationship? This May be The Reason You Haven’t Realized

Can’t Get Over Your Past Relationship? This May be The Reason You Haven’t Realized

There are many reasons I’m sure you could think of when you’re asked, “why can’t you get over your ex?” Breakups are one of the most painful transitions that we will ever endure. We get into relationships, form what seems to be unbreakable bonds and then suddenly, it’s over. It’s never easy, and post-breakups are the worst.

However, you may be missing the main reason…you could just very well be bored.

It’s early in the morning, and I’m just lying in bed, drifting off into the dangerous thought of; him. I used to think that I was crazy. I’d get five minutes to myself and I’d be all over his social media to see what he was up to. He really wasn’t that great. I mean, from the outside looking in he seemed like a great guy. Funny, charming, has a lot going for him, but it was what went on behind closed doors that really made me want to rip my hair out. My friends thought I was losing it.  Literally, and so did I. I’d lay there and wonder what he was doing, who it was with, if he missed me, if he thought about me, if he started seeing anyone new, you know, all the crazy thoughts.

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What was weird about all of this was that I knew I was over him already. When I was bored, I would catch myself thinking about all the nice times we had together and wished that I was still able to have that. Then when I somehow ventured back to reality I remembered his true colors, who he really is. I remember all the crazy fights over Skype because he went to school three hours away, the spitefulness and bitterness. It was not healthy; it was incredibly toxic. For years I made him out to be this perfect guy. Even though I knew he wasn’t, I was in denial. I made it out to myself and all of my friends that I was the one who lost out and he was perfect. It is insane how your mind can keep you from seeing what’s real.

The truth is I was bored.

I didn’t actually miss him. I missed him because I had no one else occupying my time. I was alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be alone. There is something so fulfilling about loving your own company, but he was the last person I was extremely emotionally invested in so every time I got bored my mind drifted off into space and he was everywhere.

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Do I do this?

That’s probably a question you’re asking yourself right now. “Is this me?”, “Am I just bored?” The answer is probably yes. How do you know? I’m going to tell you. Let’s say you meet some guy and he’s great. You go on a few dates, he meets your friends and the two of you are having an absolute blast, caught up in the “newness” of the potential relationship. Then for whatever reason things just start drifting apart. You guys aren’t talking as much, you aren’t hanging out and things seem to be dying out. So what happens? Your mind starts drifting off to that ex of yours you haven’t thought about in Lord knows how long. Why? Because now you don’t have anyone taking up your time. So you drift away and start thinking about him and everything the two of you shared, good and bad.

So you sit there, staring at your phone trying to decide if messaging him is a good idea or not. “I’ll just see what he’s been up to and say that I hope all is well.” You start creeping through his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook trying to see what he’s up to. You need to stop. You’re just bored. You don’t actually want this guy. He’s mediocre at best and you know it. He’s a filler in your life when you’re bored and lonely. Nothing about him really appeals to you anymore so don’t act on a feeling that really isn’t there or real for that matter.

How to get over your ex

Everyone says that this is the hardest part of the breakup: the how to get over your ex part. But it’s really not. Why not? Because you don’t even want him anymore. He was a lesson in your life and that’s what you need to keep telling yourself. Sure you’ll have your weak moments, but I’ll tell you what you can do during those times.

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Spend time with your friends

Friends are the best medicine for times like these. They were there for you during the break-up and they’ll be there for you post break-up. I’m sure of it. Call or text one of them and tell them how you’re feeling. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel just by getting some things off your chest.

Do the things you love

For me, my outlet is hitting the gym and photography. Find out what you love and do it during those times of weakness. We all have them and there’s nothing to be ashamed about.

If you ever find yourself alone one day and you’re completely wrapped up in your mind over a guy you didn’t even think brought that much value to your life in the first place, just remember that you’re most likely just bored.

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Featured photo credit: Francisco Moreno via stocksnap.io

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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