Advertising
Advertising

I Don’t Chase People Anymore After Learning “I Do Matter”

I Don’t Chase People Anymore After Learning “I Do Matter”

We are all a collective being of our experiences, thoughts and beliefs and many of these are aimed at our own self-value and self-worth. How we feel about ourselves within can determine our outside experiences, actions and interactions with those around us. In other words, if you experience low self-worth and don’t put a high value on your role in the world then this can have a detrimental effect on your relationships and even your mental well-being and happiness.

It’s easy to develop negative feelings about yourself; in fact, you are more likely to develop the same level of self-worth as one of your parents or a mixture of the two. From an early age, you can start to determine your place in the world by evaluating your connections with the people around you and this can develop into negative connections if you are around dominating, critical or judgemental people.

Without even realising it, you can carry this low-self worth into adulthood and apply it to the relationships you create. If this sounds familiar to you then you’re not alone. I’m one of those people too – someone who has struggled with low-self worth that has sabotaged both relationships with others, but most importantly with myself.

Advertising

How lack of self-love truly affected me

I’ve always been a more naturally introverted person and quite shy at times as well as highly sensitive. That meant every time a mean comment was thrown at me (which always happened to everyone at some stage during school) it stuck in my mind like superglue. Instead of having the inner strength and self-love to shrug it off and refuse to believe it, I added it to my bank of inner criticism and took it as truth.

I didn’t ever feel like I had someone to tell me this isn’t true – that the negative thoughts and actions of others can’t damage me unless I let them. I wasn’t aware that I had the power to ignore or understand the true meanings behind personal attacks, in my mind, it was my fault because I must be a less worthy person.

This transcended into my relationships with others. I would never stand my ground but instead run around after people to gain their recognition or acceptance. This, in turn, meant I was easily used and I stayed in relationships that made me unhappy, that were unfulfilling and didn’t allow me the space to grow. I would often stay with someone through fear that I wouldn’t ever find someone else or be worthy of a better relationship.

Advertising

The constant need for love

Lack of self-love and feeling like I didn’t matter meant I would seek love externally. Relationships defined me. If I was striving to make the other person happy then that was the basis of my own happiness. If they were in a bad mood, it was my fault – self-blame was evident in all areas of my life. I needed to be accepted wherever I went and if I wasn’t then there was something wrong with me. I always had to please others and put their happiness above my own because in my mind, that was a reflection of me.

The problem with this is that it eats away at you; it’s exhausting. I didn’t have the ability or even the want to set myself life goals and I didn’t celebrate any achievements because I didn’t let myself congratulate myself – it was extremely alien to me.

Understanding that happiness comes from within and starts with self-love

There came a point in my life where I found myself alone, broke, jobless and depressed. They say you need to experience the very bottom before you can rise to the top, well this was the experience for me. It was after a breakdown that I finally had enough. I couldn’t live my life this way – I can’t live my life to please others.

Advertising

It was this realisation that started my journey to self-love and happiness. I finally realised that only I can be responsible for how I feel, for my reactions to situations and other people. My inner-world is a direct reflection of my outer-world: my low self-worth and lack of respect for myself was showing in my life situation and my relationships.

Changing the way you think about yourself after a lifetime is not an easy process but with support, encouragement and determination both from external sources and myself I came to realise that I am loveable and what other people think about me is just their own issues they are struggling with. This was probably the first hugely important realisation for me – people aren’t superior, they are not living their life perfectly, they make mistakes and they have issues just like me. I shouldn’t compare myself to people who aren’t perfect themselves – no one is.

Whether you’re a happy or unhappy person is determinate on whether you love yourself and know you matter in this world or not. Discovering that inner happiness will simply change the way you see things for what they really are and placing yourself as important in everything you do.

Advertising

The road to self-love is always a continuous journey and for me, it has now improved my life in so many ways. Finally, my outer world is reflecting my inner world in a much more positive and happy way.

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

How to Be More Knowledgeable Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’ Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How to Save a Bunch of Money Easily With This Simple Challenge 11 Killer Ways To Get Rid Of Roaches Without Harming You

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