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Instead Of Asking Others To Understand You, It’s More Worthwhile To Understand Yourself

Instead Of Asking Others To Understand You, It’s More Worthwhile To Understand Yourself

Most people at some point in their life have a difficult time trying to explain themselves, their thoughts, beliefs, goals or actions to others who just couldn’t understand. This usually leads to frustration and self-doubt since that individual can feel like he or she is fighting against the world. You have probably felt like this at some point or you are going through this right now.

For example, if you are young, you may feel misunderstood by your parents, teachers, and even some peers when it comes to choosing your profession. If you want to make the right decision by following your heart and your true passion even though it may be a bit more challenging at the beginning, and your parents want you to have a secure, decent job, with decent salary, you may feel stuck between your goals and fear inflicted upon you by your parents.

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Facing great opposition usually means you are doing something worthwhile

Although having many people that don’t approve of your business idea, for example, can be quite discouraging at times, you should take a step back and look at the problem from a different perspective. Firstly, you need to understand their reasons. If your parents don’t agree with your plans, this doesn’t at all mean they wish you to fail so that they would have the satisfaction of saying: “I told you so!” In fact, the problem, like so many others, has to do with the issue of false beliefs and comfort zones. Most people, unfortunately, have believed that new and exciting things are by default risky and wrong. Therefore, most of them would much rather choose to sacrifice their dreams and freedom for the sake of false security.

Great majority would much rather settle for far less than they want as long as it doesn’t require them to step outside their comfort zone. It’s no wonder, therefore, that there are far more apparently average people in the world than there are the dreamers, leaders, artists, innovators and successful business owners. The opposition you are facing when expressing your goals comes from that learned uniform thinking that implies that you should settle, be realistic, and be content with less.

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You are the only person you should never let down

The way to truly deal with others and their understanding of you, is to shift your focus entirely on yourself. You cannot explain yourself or your goals to others clearly enough if you can’t figure them out yourself. Once you take the time to work on yourself and understand what makes you happy, your journey to fulfilling your goals will become much easier and others will get a much clearer picture of it.

In order to truly work on yourself, you need to stop trying to prove anything to anyone. Making yourself happy should be the sole reason for any action that you take. This can take some time for you to master until you become so focused on yourself that you don’t have any time left to think of others’ opinion.

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If you want to get to know yourself a little bit better, take the time every day to do some of the following actions that can speed up the process of self-discovery.

Meditate

Even though a lot has been said about the benefits of 15-minute meditation, they simply can’t be stressed enough. In this particular case, practicing meditation will help you block the noise and clear your mind enough so that you can discover your true calling. It will become much easier for you to make a distinction between the things that make you happy and the things you’ve let others convince you, make you happy.

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Write

By keeping a journal or a personal blog, you get a much better sense of your thoughts, passions, and daily struggles. In this way, you get a more clear understanding of who you really are, what drives you, and what you should avoid.

Reflect

Last, but not least, you should take different situations, (in this case work or school related) and remember the way you felt during those. By doing this often, you will learn about

  • your preferable work environment,
  • types of people you like to work with
  • your peak productivity hours
  • your motivation triggers

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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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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