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Don’t Complain About The Change Of Your Partner, It’s Good For Your Relationship

Don’t Complain About The Change Of Your Partner, It’s Good For Your Relationship

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” ~ Robin Sharma

Change is an inevitable part of life. We all experience it. Coping with change within romantic relationships can be particularly unnerving and disheartening.

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Each of my 21 years of marriage has had one constant — they have all been different. I met and married my husband as a teen and I can say that we are both completely different from who we were when we first married. To say we’ve changed is a massive understatement. Enduring, embracing, and accepting the changes in each other is one of the little secrets to our longevity.

Why it’s problematic to say “He/she is no longer the person I loved”

It is quite common for divorcing couples due to “irreconcilable differences”[1] to cite their partner’s change as the primary reason for the demise of the relationship. “He/she is no longer the person I married,” is what they contend. However, the fallacy with this argument is that this is the case for every long-term relationship. If my husband were the same person I married 21 years ago, that would be extraordinarily tragic.

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Humans remain in a perpetual state of change. We are getting older, gaining more knowledge and learning new things. The result is–usually–a wiser, more mature, and different individual. Embrace it.

You’ve changed too, even you may not realize it…

Every single experience you have attaches itself to you and alters you just a little. These transformations, which happen in your perspective and your approach to life, can range from minute and barely detectable to severely profound and significant changes that shift your thinking paradigm. Give yourself, your partner, and the relationship the space and permission to evolve.

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You definitely don’t want your relationship to be a pool of dead water

In a relationship, refusal to change is actually more detrimental than actual change itself. Requiring and expecting that you, your partner, and or the relationship remain static is unrealistic, unhealthy, and disastrous. The trick to maintaining a healthy long-term relationship lies in understanding that relationships are meant to be fluid and embracing these changes in yourself (yes, you are changing as well although you may not notice it) and all aspects of your relationships keeps things fresh and injects passion into the relationship.

I miss the old him sometimes, but I feel lucky that he has changed

My husband was a goofy, happy-go-lucky, naive, and fun-loving guy when we first met. He loved to laugh and was a kind and gentle soul. While I do, at times, miss his wide-eyed innocence, his playfulness, and his nonchalant attitude, I am so proud of the man he’s become. In fact, I love him now more than I did then. The years have morphed him into an astute, driven, and passionate provider and protector with a wisdom beyond his years. He has become a wildly successful and accomplished individual whom people depend on and seek to emulate.

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Our relationship has also undergone dramatic changes. It has been refined and gone from youthful puppy love to a deeply profound and enriching marriage that is nurturing, powerful, and fulfilling. So, how did we do it? What’s our secret? We gave each other room to grow. We learned to embrace the change we saw in each other by doing three simple things:

  1. Accepting the change.
  2. Adapting to the change.
  3. Encouraging and challenging each other to continue evolving.

Enjoy the ride of your relationship!

A relationship is a journey through change with another person. Being afforded the opportunity to participate in someone else’s journey is a privilege. Resisting and fighting change is an exercise in futility and stunts the growth of the individuals and the relationship.

A long-term committed relationship is a wild and jarring emotional roller-coaster. You will laugh, cry, scream in terror, shriek with delight a few times along the way. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Reference

[1] Legal Differences: Irreconcilable Differences

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Denise Hill

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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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