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Dare To Be A Weirdo. This Is What Makes You A Unique Limited Edition.

Dare To Be A Weirdo. This Is What Makes You A Unique Limited Edition.

We live in a world that tells us we need to stand out from the crowd to be successful, but on the other hand expressing your individualism can be deemed negative; the more you blend in with everyone else, the more compliant and safe your life will be.

You express your individual style, opinions, thoughts and beliefs and you’re immediately told by society that you’re weird, attention-seeking or eccentric. Trying to be yourself can be a game of judgement and many people don’t dare to take that step for fear they’ll be judged or rejected for who they really are and this only leads to ultimate unhappiness.

Whether you love her music or not, Lady Gaga has been a pioneer and representation of individuality, creativity and just plain weirdness and does she care? Who knows, we’re not inside her head thinking her thoughts, but one thing’s for sure – she’s not afraid to keep emulating her weirdness and advocates the need to show that weirdness is just our true beauty shining through.

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Fuelling Bullying For Drive And Success

Lady Gaga 1

    Being a naturally creative child, Lady Gaga didn’t shy away from being different at school and that inevitably brought negativity from others. Bullying was a big part of her life and it was mainly down to her daring to have her own sense of style. For anyone who has been bullied, it is something that can affect the beliefs and thoughts you have of yourself for years. For Lady Gaga, she channelled this into her drive to succeed and just follow her dreams and passions.

    “Bullying really stays with you your whole life and it really, really never goes away. And I know you’re using words like ‘superstar’ and ‘most-Googled’ and ‘billions of YouTube [views].’ But I was never the winner. I was always the loser. And that still stays with me. And do I want to stick it to anybody? No. I just wanna make music.”

    She shows bullying can make or break someone – choosing to go against the hurtful comments and negativity can be hard but can also be a huge fuel in moving forward being your best, creative, weird self.

    Rejection Is Not Failure. Be Yourself To Succeed

    Lady Gaga 5

      Being a classically trained pianist, Lady Gaga pursued her creative talents to break the music industry but it wasn’t easy. At 19, she signed to Def Jam records but not as the wacky-dressed lady we see today. Despite her love of being different, she tamed herself down in order to try and fit in with the record company ideals. After a few months she was dropped, it seemed she wasn’t gaining success with her mainstream image. A lesson that compromising on your true self will never truly get you to where you want to be. Would she have been successful without the outlandish costumes and hairstyles? Possibly. Would she have been happy? Possibly not.

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      Embracing Uniqueness For Success

      Lady Gaga 2

        Embracing her weirdness and getting back on track lead Lady Gaga to get noticed and landed herself a job as a songwriter for Interscope Records. From then on her success only got better and better. Making the decision to claim back her unique style and with the resilience she built up from negative feedback, she was able to create music in a way she probably only dreamed of.

        Embrace The Weirdness In Order To Love Yourself For Who You Are

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        Lady Gaga 3

          If Lady Gaga is to teach us anything, it’s the importance of accepting ourselves for who we really are. Whatever your journey in life, you can’t make the most of each and every positive path without the ability to love yourself. To live a truly happy and successful life, you have to be true to yourself, ignore the naysayers and the criticisers and be pleased with the person you are. Happiness can’t be found outside of yourself, it can only come from within and it all starts with accepting yourself and embracing your unique qualities.

          Revolutionising The Concept Of What’s ‘Normal’

          Lady Gaga 4

            Her battles with not ‘fitting in’ and bouncing back from constant negativity from others around her, has made Lady Gaga a true advocate for those in society who are marginalised and made to feel abnormal for not slotting in to society’s ideals. Her strong empathy for people who are victimised for just trying to be themselves are not only shown through her unique sense of style and personality but through her songs.

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            Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga represents hope and inspiration for many of her fans and shows that we’re all unique and weird in our own way. Be yourself – be the true weirdo that you are because in reality, there’s no such thing as normal.

            Featured photo credit: ceoworld magazine via ceoworld.biz

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            Jenny Marchal

            A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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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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