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Once You Learn These 8 Hard Truths About Life, You’ll Become Much Stronger

Once You Learn These 8 Hard Truths About Life, You’ll Become Much Stronger

Life is many things. Life is beautiful and miraculous, and it’s wonderful. But there is one thing life isn’t: easy. There are times when this is more apparent than others. We don’t always make it any easier on ourselves either; we hold onto notions and habits and notions that are incorrect, ludicrous, or even harmful to us. We walk through life refusing to see simple truths because we’re worried they’ll be too hard to bare, without realizing that accepting them will actually make every day much easier and much more joyful. William Beteet’s list[1] describes perfectly some difficult truths that we need to learn to accept.

1. Everyone You Love is Going to Die

Grim as this may sound, realizing that eventually you and everyone you know won’t be around forever will enrich and deepen your relationships. So many people take their loved ones for granted and feel an unrelenting sense of regret when they’re gone. Parents, grandparents, friends — we never know when we may find out that they’re no longer with us. Have you called your parents lately? Call them now. Our relationships are the most meaningful things we have in life and should be cherished.

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2. We Give Our Lives Meaning

Buddhists believe that we create our own world with our thoughts and actions. Having a meaningful life, then, is a choice. We don’t have to go out and join the peace corps or end world hunger to have a meaningful life; a bagger at the grocery store can feel just as fulfilled as the CEO of a major company. Often times, we’re too focused on what we don’t have and what we want and this makes our lives feel empty no matter how much we’ve achieved.

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3. The Perfect Partner Doesn’t Exist

Many people dream of the perfect romance and a partner that will sweep us off of our feet and into the sunset of an eternally happy ever after. In fact, most of us are probably guilty of daydreaming about our “perfect match” sometimes. But how can it affect our real relationships when our partners don’t meet our picture perfect dreams? This doesn’t mean we should settle for someone we’re miserable with, but it does mean that we should always expect to put work into a relationship. Think of it as an artistic masterpiece; you and your partner are the tools and you have to work together to make the canvas beautiful. We can be happy and fulfilled in a relationship, but not if we expect the canvas to paint itself! Check out the article below. It highlights some key things and the basic line for a fulfilling relationship. After learning these, you’ll be less likely to go overboard.

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4. Life Is A Game

Why should we walk on eggshells our entire lives, worried about getting something terribly wrong? This life is ours to learn from and experience. We should think of it as a game; decide what it is we want to do in life, learn the rules, and level up. We can never achieve anything or be successful if we’re too afraid to play. Have you ever heard of someone becoming a pro football player without ever setting foot on a field?

5. Everything Ends

This is a lot like the first only it may be a little harder to hear. Nothing lasts forever. We’ll only be young for a little while and then we’ll be old. We’ll fall in love, we’ll fall out of love, or lose the ones we love. We’ll live and then we’ll die. So many people before us have lived, loved, succeeded, failed, and died. We need to remember that we aren’t any different. Rather than being depressed by this, however, we can feel grateful, excited, and even empowered in this life. If things lasted forever, what would make them special? Time and endings make things valuable. We need to appreciate everything.

6. Be Romantic About The Little Things

Since we know now that everything comes to an end, we also know that we need to love everything we can in life. Things can become so mundane when placed into the mundane mind of someone viewing life as “the daily grind.”  Things are beautiful when we take a moment to let it be so, though. Take a different route to work or school, lie down in the grass and watch the clouds, and look up at the stars. Be romantic and the world will always feel magical. Take a day off from the stress and enjoy life! The article below highlights some good ways to slow down and enjoy the end of your week.

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7. Be A Realist About The Big Things

Even though we shouldn’t take life too seriously, it’s important that we don’t let our right brain reign all hours of the day. There are some things in life we just need our more analytical mind for. For example, those of us wanting to become famous authors can’t just write some words and then find that, BOOM, we’re a best seller! No. We have to take the appropriate steps to edit, promote, and publish our work. Most things worth doing take time and energy. Basically, everyone has to use their head sometimes. Take a look at this  article for some tips on using your head to get things done.

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8. Figure Out A Way Or Don’t Complain

Almost everyone has met someone who does nothing but complain about how his or her life isn’t turning out the way they like it. We either tune it out or feel frustrated with them. We think why don’t they just change it if they don’t like it? But, if we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that we’re not always much better. “That teacher is too picky, her tests don’t make sense.” “I just can’t learn how to do that, I have a condition.”The truth is that complaints rarely change anything and more often than not, they hold us back. We need to be proactive and positive. We need to believe that we can figure out a way. Otherwise, we can keep our complaints to ourselves.

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    Marina Richter

    Freelance Writer

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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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