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Understanding These Five Love Languages Can Reward You With The Perfect Relationship

Understanding These Five Love Languages Can Reward You With The Perfect Relationship

One of the most common relationship problems is struggling to express love to someone else. Lots of people love someone, but they struggle to express their love or meet their partner’s expectations of them. This can be extremely difficult for both people in the relationship, and both partners can end up feeling upset and unloved.

Although this commonly happens in romantic relationships, it isn’t limited to them; people often struggle to express love to their friends, family and co-workers too!

If you can have experienced this common relationship problem, don’t worry. Dr. Gary Chapman created the 5 languages of love to help people understand more about how they express love and emotion. Anyone can take the love language test to find out how they express their love, so they can start to have more loving relationships with other people.

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Do you want to find out how you communicate your emotions? Read on to find out how to have a healthy relationship using the 5 love languages.

1. Acts of Service

For some people, the most loving gesture you can make is doing something for them. You could help them out by offering to babysit for them, or you could offer to cook dinner for the family. It can even be a small thing, like doing the washing up or making them a cup of coffee.

If this is your partner’s primary love language, these small acts will mean the world to them. You may prefer to offer them kind words, but they won’t be impressed by this. To them, actions speak much louder than words. They would much rather hear you say “let me do that for you”, or “let me help you with that”.

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2. The Physical Touch

Other people have physical touch as their primary love language. Although this does include sex, it is not limited to it. This also includes holding hands, hugging, kissing and massaging. This person would much rather you touch them than offer to help them with an act of service. For instance, if they receive bad news, they would prefer a comforting hug to practical help or advice.

If you want to be better at physical touch, start small. Give your friend a hug whenever you see them, and kiss your partner whenever they leave. Make the effort to hold their hand when you are out together. It may not mean much to you, but to your partner, it means the world. To them, physical contact reaffirms your love and affection.

3. Quality Time

If your primary love language is quality time, that means you value getting and giving full, undivided attention. This doesn’t mean watching TV together or sitting on your phones together. It means putting everything else on standby so that you can sit down and verbally connect with each other.

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During this time you might discuss your careers, or your hopes and dreams; so long as it is something meaningful that makes you feel valued and loved. The main purpose of these conversations is togetherness, and if you don’t get to spend quality time together you will start to feel unloved and unappreciated.

4. Words of Affirmation

For some people, the most important love language is words of affirmation. For this person, actions don’t speak louder than words; words are very meaningful, and without positive comments, they might start to feel unhappy.

This person appreciates warm comments, such as “I love you” and “You can do this”. A kind word can make their whole day, and they feel low if their partner doesn’t make an effort to verbally express their love. They also hate being insulted. One offhand insult can ruin their week, so be careful with your words.

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5. Receiving Gifts

Receiving gifts is the final love language, but it shouldn’t be taken for materialism. This person cares more about the thought and effort put into the gift. For instance, they would prefer to receive a handmade card than a gift card from a shop.

Whenever this person receives a gift, they feel cared for and loved. If you miss their birthday or get a thoughtless gift, they are likely to be extremely insulted. To them, gift giving is the best way to express love, so to be forgotten about is very hurtful. Remember that this person isn’t impressed by money; they are impressed by people who are thoughtful and generous.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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

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